Students are now allowed to eat lunch in the library again after a recent ban due to students disrespecting the space by leaving messes behind.
“Students and teachers who need to use the space for research, studying, tutoring, and teaching find it difficult to do so when the tables and floor are dirty,” causing them to not “feel comfortable in the space” that is designed specifically for that purpose, said librarian Ms. Kelly McDaniel.
Though Ms. McDaniel does not mind when students eat lunch in the library, especially since she enjoys “interacting with students, and lunch in the library has been great for that,” problems arise when students take advantage of this privilege and leave messes behind for librarians or custodial staff to pick up.
Many students don’t seem to understand that “there is no maid service in the library or around the school.” Ms. McDaniel tolds a story of when she was “cleaning up a mess left by some students recently and another student said to [her], ‘Isn’t that the custodian’s job?’”
This has been an issue in the past; however, as the number of students eating in the library increases, so do the problems. The library used to be place where students could go to study or read during lunch but has recently turned into a social spot.
With a loud cafeteria, the library is seen as a more pleasant alternative. But with more and more students migrating towards the library, it is becoming overcrowded.
“We are exploring ways to try and limit the number of students allowed in at one time,” said Ms. McDaniel as a possible solution to this issue.
Other students agree that while the cafeteria is loud and often unappealing, the library is quickly becoming more “chaotic,” said senior Lorena Pessote. It is still a better alternative to the cafeteria in her opinion, but she does agree that the ban was fair, as students have taken advantage of their privilege and should clean up after themselves.
Junior Will Campbell, on the other hand, has no problems with eating in the cafeteria. He acknowledges that it is loud, but still feels comfortable there, while others may prefer the library where it is “easier to talk and hear people talking.”
Campbell also makes a point that a lot of students don’t eat in the cafeteria, and if they did the room would be far more chaotic than it already is.
This suggests that the problem is a combination of students wanting a more pleasant environment to eat, and a lack of feeling of responsibility for their actions. The temporary ban on lunch in the library was put in place to raise awareness of the situation, and while students are allowed to eat in the library once again, if the same problems reoccur, the privilege could be revisited.
This is not an option that anyone would enjoy, but according to Ms. McDaniel, students need to “realize that it’s their behavior that ultimately controls the decision. We’d much rather keep the library as a lunch option.”