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Come on in: The Library Café Opens up its Doors

By Carter Hunt, Editor-in-Chief

         As you begin to settle in to your semester and you realize that every week is not, in fact, syllabus week, you will begin to spend more time in the library. Similarly, despite your best efforts, new planner, and constant parental nagging, at some point you will find yourself with eyelids drooping and attention span falling because of lack of sleep and a pile of work. When this moment comes, enjoy the Duke Library’s latest addition, Summa Cum Latté The Library Café.

        The Library Café is a product of meticulous planning and scheduling by several different groups of people, including Bon Appetit, the Library Student Faculty staff, Dr. Bandelin, Dr. Mills and many others. Much of this planning has been going on for years on end. Finally, the product is here.

        If you have been to the library, (the quarter of a million plus pages printed since the beginning of school suggest you have been), you have been a few steps away from the new café. That is by design. Walking by the café will likely be a part of your daily routine whether you want it to be or not given its location at one of Furman’s most highly trafficked areas.

“Furman has the ability to track the number of students that come in and out of the library, and they do. You wouldn’t believe the traffic, that’s something that we are excited about, once the semester gets going having a central location should be a big pro,” said senior Jackson Pierce, a student representative of the Library Faculty Committee.

        Echoing this sentiment, Dr. Bandelin, who heads the Library Student Advisory Group agrees. “The thing about the library café, what we are really excited about, is that it is very centrally located.” This will especially be appreciated once the temperature begins to drop and students no longer have to make a frigid run from their studies to Einstein’s and back.

        When you get to the café, take notice of interior design and artwork, all placed with careful thought to bring together a space for studying that is tied together with Furman’s history. After examining countless cafés in the process, the Library took some of its favorite themes and began to implement its design through furniture and art placed around the café. The photos and images on the wall are copies from the library’s special collection and archives department. Jackson Pierce assisted in the café’s design process, especially when it came to the furniture.

        “We spent a lot of time debating the merits of this type of chair to this type of chair and we tested a lot of chairs,” said Jackson. The chairs are just a small point of focus on an entire room that has been meticulously planned. Then again, the comfort of the chairs might be what you notice most.  “I strongly encourage everyone to go and sit in one of the plush rooms in the back room; they are so comfy,” said Pierce.

        Even with all of the planning that went into café’s interior design, its most essential purpose remains to be a useful place of study. It will remain open as the 24hour room for students. “My hope for it is that it becomes whatever students need to be and it can change from week to week and from year to year. This café is for the students.” said Dr. Mills, another advocate for the café who assisted in its completion.

        As for the food and coffee being served, Bon Appetit is in charge of running the café, but the coffee beans are from Due South in Taylors while most baked good are coming from Upcountry Provisions in Traveler’s Rest. All of this was set up to create a café that inspires hard work and pushes students to work with clear, caffeinated minds.

        The original name, Summa Cum Latté, was one of over 900 submissions that made its way to the top of the list after several different parties involved selected it through to the final round. Students, professors, school officials and our President all weighed in on the name which, to be fair, on a mature level, is a clever and witty name. Unfortunately for the school, and for all of those who worked hard on creating the café, not everyone was able to view the name in a mature light. Which is what led us to the name: The Library Café.

        “I like the name, I think there is a beauty in simple things.” Jackson said in defense of the The Library Café

        Yes, the name is simple. Beautiful? That is a tough sell, but from no angle can the café’s name be taken in a poor light. Besides, the point of the café is not to sell a pretty name, rather it is to provide an excellent service to those of who are struggling through the Furman grind.

The Library Café
Mid-morning rush at the newly renovated café. Students stop by between classes for a beverage or a snack. Photo courtesy of Tucker McKillop.

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