When The Bookshop at Queen's closes next month, there will be many people who will bemoan the loss of an independent bookshop; a place in which they could browse the Irish fiction lists, or the incomparable collection of books on Irish history and politics.
Some will miss the access to Irish poetry, or just the civility of the place. The poet Michael Longley says the decision to close the shop is "heartbreaking".
The last time there was a threat to the shop, in 1972, a campaign rallied to save it and was successful. There are few such high hopes around now.
Since then, the shop has had its own history, parallel to that of the Troubles that were recorded in many of the books stocked there.
Shortly after the murder of John McMichael in December 1987, it emerged that Denis Murphy, the then-proprietor of the bookshop, had been one of those facilitating discussions with the UDA that produced the document Common Sense.
This was a proposal for consensual government by power-sharing in Northern Ireland, with Executive seats allocated on the de Hondt principle.
The UDA anticipated that a constitutional conference would lay to rest the question of partition. It reads now like a first draft of the Good Friday Agreement.
The UDA leader of the time, Andy Tyrie, remembers Denis Murphy as "a gentle and decent, helpful man". He says: "Denis showed us what to read. We were at the very start and he would point us in the right direction for our research. He got to know everyone."
The shop was the location of unlikely encounters between political and paramilitary rivals and enemies and it may be that the shop has had a discreet and unrecorded role in the formation of relationships which made the peace process possible.
An author launching a book like The Lost Revolution by Brian Hanley and Scott Millar, or the Rev Brian Kennaway's history of the Orange Order, would invite research contacts and interviewees to come and have a glass of wine on the night and endure a speech.
Other interested parties would turn up and over and over again in the shop you would have gatherings of people discussing their shared, and often acrimonious, history.
There were, of course, other places where people from mutually-hostile political and cultural corners could meet. One of them was the BBC.
A few there still recall the first Talkback party in the mid-1980s, when UDA leader John McMichael clashed with Eamonn McCann.
And one of the early meetings between John Hume and Gerry Adams was in Brian Garrett's studio for the programme Behind the Headlines, which preceded Talkback.
But meetings like this developed in The Bookshop at Queen's in a different kind of atmosphere, which was more convivial and in which journalists were not always hovering.
Brian Kennaway says of the bookshop: "On a community relations argument alone, it should be kept open."
Asked to name some of the useful connections he had made there over the years, he said: "You must be joking" - conceding that, even in the modern climate, meetings held in huddles during book launches were so delicate as still to be sensitive.
Richard O'Rawe is the author of Blanketmen and Afterlives, books which argue that the 1981 hunger-strikes were prolonged for political advantage to Sinn Fein.
He launched Afterlives in the bookshop last November and says that the event was like a reunion with old mates, which had also been attended by Protestant clergy and unionists and "an awful lot of very nice people".
Sometimes the launch of a book on Northern Irish politics and history has been the only occasion in which people at the heart of that history have been received civilly in a relaxed atmosphere and discovered how amenable others are to hearing them when there is no contention in the air. A similar reunion occurred when Aaron Edwards launched his history of the Northern Ireland Labour Party.
Danny Morrison, former publicity director of Sinn Fein, says that he first met Reg Empey in the bookshop during the launch of a book by Deaglan de Breadun of the Irish Times.
"It was that kind of place; you met people you didn't expect to run into in the ordinary walk. He was very affable."
Some historical political movements meet one last time to mark the writing of their history and then die. Those events themselves are historically important and more of them have been happening in The Bookshop at Queen's than anywhere else.
The photographer Bobbie Hanvey found launches at the bookshop provided opportunities to meet key players in the politics and history of Northern Ireland, drawn back to support books which record their work.
He recalls getting portraits there of the Dungannon SDLP man Austin Currie and of Tommy McKearney, a former IRA prisoner, and of many others. "It is a tragedy that the shop is closing," he says.
David Trimble, the former First Minister, who also spoke at many book launches there, takes the pragmatic view that the unlikely encounters that happened there will now happen at launches elsewhere.
"But how can a university function without an outlet for academic books? I am astonished," he says.