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Library Group to Open Bookstore at Chattanooga Airport

This article was originally published on TimesFreePress.com.

Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport offers food, drinks, and even live video of the alligator exhibit at the Tennessee Aquarium to help travelers pass time awaiting their flights.

Soon, airport patrons will have access to a bookstore as well.

Friends of the Library, calling the business model a first for an airport nationally, will lease about 750 square feet in the lower level of the terminal where it will sell books.

William Sundquist, chairman of the group that supports Chattanooga Public Library, said plans are to provide books which will be mainly donated or are library discards.

The store will be unmanned with sales done on "the honor system," he said, permitting buyers to pay either in cash or with a credit card.

"We'll restock on a weekly basis," Sundquist told the Chattanooga Airport Authority this week. "We're really thrilled about this opportunity to bring library material to the airport. We'll make sure it's maintained properly and looks good."

All of the proceeds will support the library, he said.

April Cameron, the airport's vice president of finance and administration, said Friends of the Library will have a one-year lease at $1,800 for the space adjacent to the ticketing counter.

She said the move is "an effort to continue adding customer amenties and improve the customer experience at the airport."

Dan Jacobson, Authority chairman, termed the concept "a great idea."

"I'm sure you'll make a plea to round [a book's price] to the closest $5 or something," he said.

Sundquist said there's no historical precedent for such a venture, so he's not sure how much business the bookstore will do.

But, he's hopeful the store will reach about 10 percent of the airport's users each day.

The airport had record passenger boardings last year of 392,139, and it's on pace to set a new high mark in 2016.

For Friends of the Library, its main source of revenue is book sales. It says it sponsors used book sales throughout the community for book lovers, home-schooled children, and collectors.



This article was originally published in the Chattanooga Times Free Press.