How the No Foods Rule is Affecting the Library

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How the No Foods Rule is Affecting the Library

Julianne Berry-Stoelzle, Reporter

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Crumbs scattered on the library floor, sticky tables, and loud lunchroom noise filling up the space. Before the library implemented its “No-Foods Rule,” these problems kept appearing.

“We noticed that after the lunch time, there was a lot of mess,” Elizabeth Schau, one of the librarians, said. “It was pretty smelly.”

Since December 3, there has been a covered-drinks-only rule in the library, in an effort to get rid of these problems.

“It’s working great,” Schau said. “All the things that were an issue, causing us to kind of make this decision, [are gone]. There’s virtually no mess. It doesn’t smell bad anymore.”

The biggest problem was lunch. Many students would eat their lunch in the library, leaving traces of their food on the tables and wrappers lying out in the library.

“It was like we had a library first through third period and a library fifth through seventh period, but then we had a lunchroom fourth period,” Schau said.

Another cause of worry for Schau was students with food allergies. Other students would eat foods, such as trail mix, leaving crumbs on the tables that could cause some students to have an allergic reaction.

“You want to be able to provide a place where a student knows it’s a safe place to be,” Schau said. “Those great snacks could unintentionally be a danger to someone else.”

City High was one of a few schools that allowed food in the library. Librarians first tried talking to students about cleaning up their messes but that was not working. Upon talking to librarians from both West and Liberty high schools as well as researching online, they learned that only allowing covered drinks was a common rule.

“We didn’t make the decision overnight,” Schau said. “We thought about it, and we knew some students would be disappointed.”

Signs were posted on the library doors, to let students know about this rule ahead of time. Olivia Burke ‘21, who used to eat lunch in the library, was surprised to see these.

“It actually shocked me because I didn’t think that we were that messy,” Burke said.

Last trimester, Burke had an open period during fourth. She would sit in the library and do her homework and eat lunch.

“[The atmosphere] was very loud, but it was also very happy,” Burke said. “It put me in a better mood as I did my homework.”

She was aware that being allowed to eat in the library was not common, and found the privilege very helpful. Now, she wishes that this new rule did not exist.

“I just don’t feel like as many people go to the library now because they can’t eat, so they can’t go there during lunch,” Burke said.

Whether good or bad, the “No-Foods Rule” is going to stay in effect at City’s library for the foreseeable future.

“I would just like to thank students for helping us implement the new policy,” Schau said. “It went really smoothly, and we really appreciate them supporting our decisions and appreciating that we ma[d]e this decision for the best of the whole group.”