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Head to Head: Food in the Library?

Should Not Be Allowed

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Editor’s Note: This piece is apart of an intentionally published duo debating the merits of allowing food in the library. The sister-article which argues in opposition can be found here.


First week in, and I’m feeling the burden of junior year. I have what feels like infinite pages to read in the infamous Nash book, and I have F period free, so I say, ‘Hey, let’s get this done so I can maybe watch at least ten minutes of ‘The Office’ after tennis, if I’m lucky.’

I go to the library, open the glass doors to a study room with a round table with a large halo light above it, and sit down. I look to my left and see two water bottles, one empty and the other full–this is why we should not be allowed to have food in the library, I think. If we cannot even throw away our water bottles, which right now are the only things that are permitted in the library, how do you expect the librarians to trust us with food?

During November of last year, Annette Lesak sent out a simple email that read, “Some individuals who eat lunch in the library have not been personally responsible for their trash, and there’s been an unacceptable amount of garbage strewn about the library lately. It is not up to library staff nor custodial staff to clean up after these students, and at this point in your young adulthood, you are definitely developmentally able to pick up your own trash.”

Lesak designated a column in the library for photos of leftover food that people left in the library. She went on to warn that if the wall filled up three times, that food in the library would be banned. You probably guessed it, but that wall filled up three times, and food in the library was officially banned. Now here is the thing: if they wouldn’t let us eat in the old library, is it not incredibly naive of us to think they will let us in the new one?

I understand that people feel that there are limited spaces to eat. But our first choice should not be the library. My routine has been: spend time in the study room, and just as I am about to overstress, take a therapy walk down to the cafeteria. Eat lunch there, and then return to the library. It is not so much of an inconvenience, not enough to complain about not being allowed to eat in the library. I mean, come on, can you really not walk down the stairs and then come back?

Okay, a fair argument against the cafeteria is the little kids that eat there. But here is the thing: they occupy only parts of the cafeteria at a time. Sure, on Mondays, it is not ideal to have lunch down in the cafeteria, but for the most part, there is not a real problem with lack of space in the cafeteria.

You also should not be studying and eating at the same time. According to Howard LeWine, the Chief Medical Editor in Internet Publishing at Harvard Health Publications, “Slowing down and savoring your food can help you control your intake,” and “Eating while watching television or working—and distracted or hurried eating–can prompt you to eat more.” So instead of trying to multitask, take your lunch down stairs, eat it, and then return to your studying.

The new library is a place for collaboration, yes, but it does not necessarily have to be a place where you are collaborating on food consumption with friends. I mean, would you rather be eating peacefully, or trying to eat while explaining to your friends the group project you are all involved in and getting yelled at for eating in the library in the first place? I’d rather be chilling in the cafeteria.

There is not even a shortage of places for eating: you could eat by the tables by the fourth floor gallery, by the new gym, outside (weather permitting), in the lobby, and by the tables in the catboxes. There is no reason why the library needs to be the first place that we want to eat in.  There is nowhere that says the library has to be a designated food space. The library is for studying, research, and the like–not for food. The cafeteria is for food. So I hate to say it, but to complain about this issue reads a little petty.




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Head to Head: Food in the Library?