Starting in February, library-goers will be able to take a caffeine break with Coffee Bené. Dan Gjelten, director of libraries, has arranged with the local coffee vendor to add a shop on the first floor of O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library.
“I’m very, very happy to be able to partner with Coffee Bené in this way,” Gjelten said. “We look forward to a great relationship and some really wonderful coffee on campus.”
The coffee shop will be located at the back of the first floor by the leather room and Coffee Bené will run the shop independently from the library. Gjelten said that students’ flex and eXpress dollars will be accepted, and the shop may be an on-campus job option for students.
St. Thomas may be the first of the Cooperating Libraries in Consortium (CLIC) to add a coffee shop, Gjelten said. The University of Minnesota has a shop in the Walter Library, but it is different than the one planned for the OSF library.
“Lots of people will have a little sort-of sideline thing, maybe right outside the door of the library, like a little kiosk or something,” Gjelten said. “What we’re planning is more of a full-blown coffee shop.”
The “full-blown coffee shop” will serve espressos and lattes, and also will include a pastry case with cookies and donuts. But to maintain quiet in the library the shop won’t make noisy creation such as smoothies.
“Brewing coffee isn’t particularly loud,” Gjelten said. “There will be a little bit of noise. And there will be the smell of coffee and to me, that’s great.”
Because the shop will be located on the first floor, Gjelten hopes it will not disturb too many students.
“The first floor has become a little noisier,” he said. “And that’s OK. I think most people are fine with it and most people understand it. On that floor, there’s an expectation of a certain amount of activity and hubbub and so forth. But as you move up, or down, it gets quieter and quieter.”
Gjelten said that a coffee shop is a good next step for the library.
“With all the other buildings on campus, especially the new student center over there, I want to make sure that the student body still thinks of the library as a great place to go to study,” he said. “The library is primarily about teaching and learning… But I want to make it as appealing as possible … I guess we just decided that now’s just a good time to move ahead with it.”
Mary Kenkel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org