The Dusty Bookshelf announces potential closure

The Dusty Bookshelf, located in Aggieville, is a friendly spot for people to enjoy time together and shop for books. Because of rising rent costs they may be closing their doors, but the Lawrence location is to remain. (Elizabeth Sandstorm | Collegian Media Group)

The Dusty Bookshelf, a feature of Aggieville for over 25 years as a co-op bookstore, announced in an Instagram post July 27 that it may close this spring.

According to the post, “Upon the expiration of The Dusty Bookshelf’s current lease in Spring 2024, the rent rate is multiplying, making it impossible for Dusty to continue operations under its current business model.”

Leon Berry, junior in architecture, said the news of The Dusty Bookshelf’s potential closure upset him.

“It’s a shame because it’s a fun place to go and I’ve bought books there before,” Berry said. “I love it there.”

Dennis Cook, director of the Aggieville Business Association, said there’s hope for The Dusty Bookshelf.

“I think they were just putting the word out at this point,” Cook said. “It’s looking more difficult for them to continue on, so I don’t know whether that means that they aren’t going to be able to re-negotiate rent or make an adjustment to business.”

Adrien Sdao, store manager of The Dusty Bookshelf, said the staff is optimistic it will stay open.

“We are hoping that someone can come up with a creative idea that will allow us to stay here,” Sdao said. “We are very sad, but we are also very grateful to everybody, and we can hope that we come up with something before March of next year.”

Berry said he would be sad to see The Dusty Bookshelf leave because of what it means to the Manhattan community.

“My friend, she grew up here, and her mom used to take her to go buy books there growing up,” Berry said. “A lot of memories were made there.”

Cook said something can be worked out and he’d hate to see The Dusty Bookshelf go.

“I certainly hope they can get something worked out with their landlord, or they can make an adjustment that works out for them, because The Dusty Bookshelf has been a very great business for Aggieville for a lot of years,” Cook said. 

Aggieville businesses like The Dusty Bookshelf are struggling because construction has cut into businesses, Cook said.

“Of course until May we’ve had some road construction and restriction to get into Aggieville since 2018, so we’ve gone five years of having roads being closed,” Cook said. “Businesses are being put under some undo stress because of the Aggieville redevelopment. We knew what was coming, and we knew it was going to be difficult.”

Cook said the pause in Aggieville construction will help restabilize businesses.

“For the most part, I think everyone is looking forward to the pause of redevelopment,” Cook said. “We are hoping that everyone gets their legs back underneath them again.”

Cook said eventually Aggieville construction will continue and businesses are preparing to take another hit.

“At some point we are going to have to redo all of Moro Street, and that will take a toll on everybody too,” Cook said. “We are hoping for the best.”

Sdao said until spring The Dusty Bookshelf will continue business as usual.

“First of all we are hoping [the closure] doesn’t happen,” Sdao said. “We are still accepting books as donations, and the store in Lawrence is still going strong.”

In the meantime, The Dusty Bookshelf is open to suggestions to keep things running, Sdao said. 

“The best idea that we have is that somebody takes over and keeps it here as a co-op,” Sdao said. “That’s all we can say officially.”