Last week, I set off to the North Reading Room for a long study session. I packed my bag with every notebook, charger and highlighter necessary to take on my growing pile of work, but I wasn’t fully ready until I ran into Starbucks and grabbed an iced coffee.
Then it hit me; studying in the North Reading Room wasn’t an option, at least not if I wanted to bring my coffee in with me.
I stood before the doors of North like a sinner before the gates of heaven. I knew that if I tried to sneak my Starbs in, I would eventually be found out and promptly removed from the beautiful study space. But that wasn’t going to stop me from trying. I got as far as the table upstairs before I saw the approaching librarian. I didn’t even bother to wait. I took my coffee, and started walking back down to the entrance, eyeing the woman as I passed. I said nothing to her as I trashed my coffee cup, but my facial expression was screaming, “WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS? IT’S JUST COFFEE! DAMMIT WOMAN, LET ME LIVE MY LIFE.”
No, I am not saying that students should try and think of more skillful ways to sneak their drinks into libraries. Rather, the North and Central Reading Room should allow students to bring in coffee cups in the first place.
I understand that the North and Central Reading Rooms are new, shiny and expensive, and that open container-drinks are a huge risk to the new carpets, sofas and tables. But what about the bottled drinks that students bring in? What about the brightly colored Minute Maid juices that could cause a stain much worse than my coffee could dare to try? Yes, these bottles come with a sealed top much more secure than my coffee cup, but have some faith. The entire purpose of going to the library is so students can have a place to sit and do work. We are not holding races throughout the library shelves; I am here to be as immobile as physically possible. My coffee cup lid is not a 10/10 in reliability, but it also doesn’t need to be, given the circumstances.
I understand that Stony Brook tries to accommodate the issue of bringing food into the library with designated zones where dry snacks are allowed. But drinks in the library must be in “sealed spill-proof containers only,” aka not any Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts or Jamba Juice cups. Despite this, there is a sign in the North Reading Room that says, “clear, covered drinks are permitted in all areas of the library.” But what does that mean? And why does my clear, covered Starbucks cup not count?
I will admit, there are parts of the library zones and food rules that I do agree with. I like that they have silent zones for when I need peace and quiet to quickly write that paper I forgot about. I like that they have a sign that says “smelly foods” aren’t allowed in, mostly because I think it’s really funny, but also for the practical value it has. But why cut out coffee?
If students are already allowed bottled water, juice and other snacks, why can’t I bring in the most necessary ingredient for my long day of studying?