Monday, May 19, 2008

Libraries Provide Students with Comfortable Spaces, Access to Food, Beverages

With backpacks, laptops, and other small-screen smart devices in tow, students gear up for studying at Bracken Library, often with a cup of coffee and sandwich in hand.

In late 2002, Dr. Arthur W. Hafner, newly appointed Dean of University Libraries, lifted a long-standing ban against eating and consuming beverages in the Libraries. This decision marked the beginning of the transformation of the University Libraries as an inviting space for student and faculty to gather for research and learning.

Today, Bracken Library proudly houses The Bookmark Café, which opened in January 2007, is located in Bracken’s southeast corner. It is a popular place to grab a cup of freshly brewed Seattle’s Best Coffees, Tazo teas, espressos, and more. There are also juices and many selections for breakfast and lunch. The Café, along with other amenities to the Libraries, are part of an initiative for students to think of the Libraries as their “third place” after homes and classrooms.

From comments made by students and faculty, changing the Libraries’ rules about food and beverages has helped to increase the number of visits and the amount of time that people stay in Bracken Library.

“I can save time by eating at the library or taking a break from studying to get some coffee without having to leave the building,” said Emily Akers, a senior. “The sitting area outside of the Bookmark Café makes it easy to meet someone to go over class notes or have a short meeting.”

The only library areas that are off-limits to both food and beverages is Archives and Special Collections, which contains rare archival material, and the two e-classrooms on Bracken’s lower level. In the time since removing the prohibition against food and beverages, the Libraries’ experience has shown that students generally clean-up after themselves, and to facilitate this, the Libraries have provided more and larger waste containers around the Libraries. Overall, allowing food and beverages has proved to be a good decision.

Bracken Library provides a vending area on its lower level, which provides sweet and salty snacks and a variety of beverages including coffee.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home