Students eager for The Dusty Bookshelf reopening

Oliver, the Dusty Bookshelf's cat, watches passersby from his perch in the storefront of the Aggieville business on Jan. 23, 2014. The adopted cat previously lived under the Varsity Donuts Truck nearby, and the Varsity crew affectionately called him "Mac" after his favorite food -- Mac and Cheese. (File Photo)

With the closing of Hale Library, students across the Kansas State campus were eager to hear of The Dusty Bookshelf’s spring revival, hoping it could serve as a potential study location.

A fire on March 2, 2017 left the Aggieville bookstore smoky, charred and with about $822,000 in damages. The store announced in a Facebook post on Tuesday that the store will reopen this spring.

“I would definitely be looking for study space,” Cassidy Anderson, senior in agribusiness, said. “I graduate in May, but I also run an online business, so just a place to work would be great.”

Anderson said she likes to get out of the house for a change in environment.

“It’s sad that the library is not open because I feel like there isn’t really a secluded place to study,” Anderson said.

Although many desire a location to concentrate and work, some students long for a place to unwind from their studies.

“I actually love going into like Barnes & Noble and just chilling out and reading books, so I think it will be really beneficial because there will be somewhere off campus students can go to,” Lauren Harris, freshman in athletic training, said.

For Gabby Bond, junior in family consumer science and education, The Dusty Bookshelf holds sentimental value.

“I grew up here in Manhattan, and my dad would go rent books and read there, so it’s like a family thing,” Bond said. “We were all really sad when it burned down. As a townie, my family really wanted it to come back.”

Paige Gumpenberger, senior in social work, said the bookstore actually motivated her decision to come to K-State.

“Let me set the scene: fall of 2014, walking around K-State, thinking it’s cool and all, but nothing special,” Gumpenberger said. “I decide to eat lunch in Aggieville, walk past a store and notice a cat in the window. Completely shocked, I walk in and am told this store has a normal cat that you can pet. I immediately decided that this was the school for me. I mean, how could it not be if it had a bookstore with a cat?”

The news of the fire completely devastated Gumpenberger, she said, but the bookstore’s reopening has her blazing with glee.

“Now my senior year, the pain of the store burning down has finally went away and they’re opening again before I graduate,” Gumpenberger said. “This is basically a romance novel because our lost love has been returned. What a way to finish my time here.”