by Daisy Creager | staff writer
The doors open. Along with a rush of cool air comes the stench of espresso and a quiet, concentrated atmosphere-great for studying and energizing you for the rest of your day. This may raise thoughts of Starbucks or similar coffee shops, however it will soon be a reality in the school library.
“A couple of years ago I went to Brandeis on an ROTC trip and we noticed that they had a cafe up by their library and I thought ‘Hey, how cool would that be?” principal John Mehlbrech said. “It’s a little extra money for the library and it would give it the ambiance of a Starbucks if you will. The idea was to put some tables up by that jaguar mural so he kids can go out there and study with some coffee, and Mrs. Sanchez took the idea and has been running with it ever since.”
Over the summer, librarian Terri Sanchez will be remodeling the biography section of the library to be a small coffee shop, with a section for students to eat and drink while they study.
“The shelves will be pulled out and the tall bistro tables will be put right there,” Sanchez said. “I’ll repurpose the shelves and cut them to be at a lower height. Ipads and laptops will be out in protective cases so you guys can drink coffee and use the ipads if you want.”
According to Sanchez, she is installing the coffee shop to draw more students to the library as well as reduce the risk of books and computers being damaged by food or drinks.
“It will encourage more student traffic here at the library,” Sanchez said. “A lot of students will choose to go to the cafeteria during lunch because they want to eat instead of coming here because they can’t eat and study here. During lunches they’ll be able to come here and eat while they study. Also, we are fighting a losing battle. I’ll say no drinks and then I’ll find cups hidden around the library. To me, I’d rather allow it and be open with it.”
While Sanchez and the administrators have been discussing the idea for several years, they had to figure out how to execute it while respecting the nutrition requirements set by the district. In addition to not serving students at the same time as the cafeteria, the cafe is not allowed to serve anything over 50 calories.
Sanchez plans to have students aids apply to work as baristas at the cafe. According to Mehlbrech, the program will benefit students and may eventually merge with the business classes.
“They can learn customer service and a little about the business and cost behind it versus the profit and the expenses,” Mehlbrech said. “Eventually, further down the road, we may be able to tie it in with the business classes and say that part of the course is running the coffee shop. That is something, again, that we have to take baby steps toward.”
However, along with the benefit of having a coffee shop at the school will come rules about when the students can and cannot go to it.
“Just like now, every time you go to the library you will have to check in and have a pass,” Mehlbrech said. “Those rules will still be in place. I don’t like to be the guard of a prison, I want to trust the students. I don’t want to set up a mechanism like the TSA where you have to go through a bunch of stuff to enjoy the library. We’re just trying to make the library more accommodating.”
With all the work they are putting into it, Sanchez and the administration expect the cafe to be a success.
“I think it’s a pretty cool idea, there’s a lot of people who really need the coffee,” junior Rebecca Polk said. “And the fact that we bring food in makes things easier because we’ll be able to come in during lunch and you don’t have to eat really fast or skip lunch to study. The school is growing, we have to try new things. If it doesn’t work out, we can always try something different.”