No takeaways, please. It’s a library, not a kebab shop.

We don’t so much blame the person who failed to file an objection to the arrival of a kebab truck opposite the library entrance as continue to stab an effigy of what we imagine they might look like on a regular basis. The problem with the ease of access to so much hot fast food from food delivery apps and local outlets is that people are tempted to try to bring it into the library. This is not allowed.

Once upon a time, we allowed takeaways into the library but we quickly found ourselves knee deep in half-eaten pizzas with meat toppings – foods that are potentially attractive to rodent pests – while our bins overflowed with near incompressible pizza boxes that insist upon unfolding themselves and tearing through the most robust of bin liners. Faced with despairing cleaning staff and a body of students who were becoming increasingly unhappy that they were finding tables and keyboards increasingly covered in grease and grime the morning after someone’s takeaway the night before, we reluctantly decided to restrict the consumption of hot foods brought in from outside the library to the entrance area outside of the entry turnstiles.

You are welcome to bring any cold snacks you would like into the library and consume them, together with any non-alcoholic drinks, hot or cold. Hot snacks may also be purchased from the Library Café. This often raises eyebrows, with clients questioning to what extent the ban on takeaways is intended to protect café sales. I hope my description of how we arrived at the current policy has convinced you that the answer to this is “not much”. In stark contrast to takeaway foods, everything the café sells is designed to be clean to eat, cooked without fats or oils, and served in an absolute minimum of sustainable packaging that you can recycle in any of our red or green recycling bins.

As always, we want to hear your views, so if you have strong feelings or creative ideas about food and drink in the library, please post them in our online suggestion box.

Assistant Librarian (Promotions) at the University Library. An enthusiastic advocate of libraries, diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice for all, inside and outside the workplace.

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