Historically, libraries have forbidden food and drink to prevent damage to valuable materials. Damage comes in two ways. First, books, CDs, computers, etc. can be damaged by accidental spills or messy fingers. Second, when food and food waste is not properly disposed of, it attracts vermin that infest the building. Vermin--mice and bugs--are very difficult to remove and can be incredibly destructive. Nevertheless, refreshment is sometimes necessary in the intense work schedules of students and faculty. To make the library useful and pleasant, food and drink are permitted in Olin and Chalmers under the following rules:
- Students, faculty, and staff may have drinks in the library if the drinks are in containers with lids or tops that prevent spilling.
- Students, faculty, and staff may bring food into the library with these limitations:
- The food cannot be messy and cannot give off strong smells that disturb others.
- All spills, crumbs, smears, etc., must be cleaned up by the consumer. Cleaning materials can be obtained at the Helpline or at the Circulation Desk.
- All disposables—napkins, wrappers, peels, uneaten food—must be disposed of in designated food trash containers only.
- Certain areas of the library may be designated as "No Food and Drink" zones; no food or drink of any kind may be brought into these areas.
- LBIS staff members will remind you of these policies and assist you in obtaining cleaning materials if you need them.
- These rules apply to all library spaces—study carrels and staff offices are not exempt.
These rules assume that students, staff, and faculty will take responsibility for cleaning up food and drink spills and food waste. The library staff may speak to you about these policies, not to be the "food police," but to remind you of our shared responsibility to keep the library buildings clean.