This week during the Michigan State University Extension webinar update, Doug Brinklow, director of ANR Communications, addressed some of the rumors that have been circulating about the upcoming transition of the MSU Extension Bookstore. No, the bookstore will not be going away, but we are going to be making some improvements.
Later this year, the MSU Extension Bookstore will move from our current platform to shop.msu.edu, which is part of University Stores. University Stores already successfully runs a retail operation through online, phone and face-to-face interactions and also handles product storage and fulfillment with a dedicated staff. They are PCI compliant, which means they maintain a high set of security standards to protect credit card information of purchasers and can make the necessary updates to keep our material easy to purchase or download.
This decision did not come easily. ANR Communications, ANR Technology Services and MSU Extension staff members spent months investigating options to ensure we can retain an easy-to-use system that is positioned for growth. Rather than spending time and money to reinvent the wheel within our current system, the group agreed that the resources available through shop.msu.edu will help us become more efficient.
With this big of a change, there were obviously a few questions for us to clear up. Here are the highlights:
- The MSU Extension Bookstore will remain open until shortly before the switch to shop.msu.edu.
- Extension county office discount pricing will be retained.
- We will still have the ability to publish online-only documents through shop.msu.edu.
- You will still be able to pick up bookstore items from campus, but they will now be located at Angell Building, 166 Service Rd., East Lansing, MI 48824.
- All stakeholders/customers will be informed of all steps that need to be taken to begin using the bookstore through shop.msu.edu.
Michelle Lavra, who supervises the communication production team and the video/multimedia team in ANR Communications, will maintain the bookstore relationship with shop.msu.edu. We are on track to meet our goal of transitioning by October 1, 2014, and we will provide more details by mid-September.
As with any transition, we know that there will be wrinkles along the way. We appreciate your help in making this transition as smooth as possible by bringing any issues to the attention of ANR Communications so we can iron them out immediately.
When shopping for friends and family this Christmas, don’t forget there are many selections for both children and adults at the Michigan State University Extension Bookstore.
Surprise your budding scientist or nature enthusiast with a field guide written by MSU experts. “Michigan Snakes (E2000)” portrays Michigan’s 18 species of snakes with large color photos. Filled with useful information, it will even tell you how to treat a snakebite.
“Michigan Butterflies & Skippers (E2675)” includes every butterfly ever recorded in the state.
For the hunter or for the hunter’s cook, try “Michigan Venison (E0657).” If you’d like your resident cook to perfect his or her cooking skills, order the “Eating Right is Basic Recipe Set (CYFC021).” It’s a flip-up cookbook with very simple yet nutritious recipes.
A great coffee table book is “Pursuing What’s Best for the World: 150 years of Teaching, Research and Extension of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR400).” From the formation of Michigan Agricultural College to the development of Extension and AgBioResearch to the CANR’s linkage to other colleges in the university, the book covers the efforts, trials and accomplishments of the people who went before us.
For the avid gardener, I suggest combining several items in a gift bundle. “Growing Plants Indoors: An Introduction on How to Care for Common Indoor Plants (E3142),” “Planting Techniques: A Guide for Successful Plant Establishment (E3111)” and the Soil Test Kit Self-Mailer (E3154) make a great combination.
Shopping online is easy and convenient at bookstore.msue.msu.edu. To be in time for Christmas giving, please order by Dec. 16.
I was pleased to see that the new online version of the Michigan State University Extension Bookstore (formerly called the bulletin system) went live last week. This was a great joint effort by folks in ANR Technology Services (especially Bob Kriegel and Jim Brija) and ANR Communications (Steve Evans and Laura Probyn were the project coordinators).
It’s taken some time for this project to come together, but when you think that there are somewhere around 1,700 products in our system, the fact that the technology exists to enable us to build a store that looks a lot like the “big guys” who have much bigger pocketbooks and staffs is pretty amazing.
I’ll take a moment of silence now for the old CeeNet email system. Though we retired it from active daily use several years ago, it still provided the login and password system that the counties have used to order products from the Bookstore until the new system went live. Thank you for your service CeeNet; rest in peace. We’re now on par with the rest of the university, using the regular MSU login system for individual orders. Individuals should log in and create their own accounts to receive the discounted rate for items (formerly called the county price) and county staff members can log in using their respective county’s numeric email address (for example, Alcona County staff members will use email@example.com).
There are lots of other great bells and whistles on this site. Steve Evans has created the first of several handy-dandy webinars that folks can use to learn to use the system. There will be more to come, and we’ll be setting aside time in one of our upcoming Monday afternoon staff updates to talk more about the system. Associate Director Steve Lovejoy represented the Director’s Office in this venture and he’ll give us an overview of the system and how it works. It’s encouraging to see the numbers of sales increasing already from this easily used site. Thanks to all who’ve been a part of this effort – it’s a great example of how we are “walking the talk” and using technology to help disseminate our work to the people who need it.