The BYU Bookstore

This is a busy time of year on a college campus with students working to finish final projects and cramming for final exams. They are also trying to figure out which of their textbooks they can sell back to campus bookstores and which they will be stuck with for the next twenty years. They are also pondering what to do with the limited funds that they will get back–do they spend it on themselves or do they buy Christmas gifts for friends and loved ones. For over one hundred years the BYU Bookstore has served as a focal point for campus purchases.

The BYU Bookstore was established in 1906 as the Student Supply Association to supply the books and other school supplies that students needed. The Student Supply Association was housed on lower campus in the Education Building and there was only enough space for one employee to work at a time. As Brigham Young University grew, the Student Supply Association grew as well and was housed in various locations on campus including College Hall and an old army surplus building on upper campus.

Herald R. Clark Building, 1950s

Herald R. Clark Building, 1950s

By the 1950s it was clear that the Student Supply Association needed a home of its own and, under the direction of President Ernest L. Wilkinson, planning began for the Herald R. Clark Building. The completed Clark Building not only housed the Student Supply Association it also was home to a post office, university housing, and university purchasing. It was the bookstore, however, that was the main draw for students.

Brigham Young University experienced tremendous growth in the 1950s and 1960s going from a student population of 5,000 to 25,000 and this prompted a number of building projects on campus. Among those projects was a student center that would be named the Ernest L. Wilkinson Student Center and that included a large space for the bookstore. In 1965 the Student Supply Association became the BYU Bookstore and moved into its current situation as part in the Wilkinson Student Center.

Bookstore in the Wilkinson Center, 1960s

Bookstore in the Wilkinson Center, 1960s

The BYU Bookstore offers students more than just textbooks. It also sells general interest books, LDS books, clothing, games, art work, music, and other materials. It is convenient resource for the students of Brigham Young University and they take full advantage of its services.

The University Archives is home to several collections that document the history of the bookstore. They include:

  • UA 1223 Brigham Young University Student Auxiliary Services, 1952-1995. This collection details the workings of the Brigham Young University Department of Student Auxiliary Services. It is comprised of staff minutes, programs, clippings, and reports outlining the various objects and activities which the Student Auxiliary Services dealt with. It includes information on the bookstore. To access the finding aid for this collection, click here.
  • UA 1149 Brigham Young University Administrative Vice-President Records, 1994-1998. This collection contains correspondence, meeting minutes, reports, policies, subject files, and other items necessary to the functioning of the Administrative Vice President’s office. Includes information on the BYU Bookstore. To access the finding aid for this collection, click here.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about the holdings of the University Archives, please contact the University Archivist at (801) 422-5821 or gordon_daines@byu.edu

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