Bookforum Becomes Posman Books at Barnard

Photograph: Gene and Maxene Posman. Photo Credit: Amy Callahan.

The history of the Barnard Bookforum has turned a page with the start of the new semester--it has become Posman Books at Barnard College.

Under new ownership, the store is already showing improvements, and its proprietors, Gene and Maxene Posman, are promising many more.

"There are going to be some major changes," Gene Posman said.

Already in place is a smoother and more helpful book ordering process for professors, better shelf organization for course books and an enthusiastic staff.

In the future, the Posmans plan to completely renovate the interior, possibly install a mezzanine section, offer a wider variety of Barnard clothing and stationery, buy and sell used course books, sponsor more readings and book signings, and strengthen the literary and academic tenor of the store.

"We don't have any sports or pets or romance," said Maxene Posman. "And we invite the community to tell us what they want."

Posman Books at Barnard is the official book store for Barnard College and leases the space at Broadway and 116th Street from the school. The store also serves other schools and affiliates of the University, including Teachers College and the Manhattan School of Music.

Gene Posman has been in the book business for 30 years and operates 13 college bookstores in New York City and Westchester, including the stores at Brooklyn and Queens Colleges, Bronx Community College and SUNY at Westbury. The Posmans' anchor store is Posman Books in Greenwich Village, located near NYU.

The Posmans took over the former Barnard Bookforum in December, after the store was plagued with management problems. New staff, including the two top managers, were brought in, and several experienced former employees were retained.

Dennis Dougherty, a former manager who is still part of the staff, said the Posmans saved the landmark book store.

"It was probably the best Christmas present any of us could have hoped for," he said.

In a written announcement, Barnard President Judith R. Shapiro, said, "We are optimistic that Posman Books at Barnard will provide the level of service we need and desire."

Columbia University Record -- February 9, 1996 -- Vol. 21, No. 16