Since the storied times of ancient Babylon, the library has served as a respected institution and centerpiece of academia. If you learned anything in AP World History, you would know about our good Babylonian friend Hammurabi. Surely, when Hammurabi was crafting his world-renowned codes, he did not leave the library before satiating his scholarly appetite with an assortment of prunes and flat bread.
Now I am not saying that there’s a direct correlation between Hammurabi’s snacking habits and the issues facing Carmel High School students, but there is a certainly a concern among the student masses regarding the stringent food restriction policy in the library.
As many know, the moderate Carmel weather that is supposed to persist throughout the year is becoming less and less of a reality. Students are forced to make the decision of whether to suffer in the December heat and enjoy their food or bask in the air-conditioned glory of the library and starve.
Obviously, some logical reasons exist behind the library’s anti-food policy. As many CHS students know, it is important to respect the serious allergies of some students. Therefore, a place as public as the library must not be tainted by snack foods that could potentially set off an allergic reaction.
Needless to say, preserving the cleanliness of the library rests on the assurance that food crumbs and waste wrappers do not contaminate its carpeted floors.
Before we roll out the buffet tables, we must first understand that there are legitimate benefits that exist behind the mingling of food and education.
Judi Moreillon, a writer for the magazine School Library Monthly, notes that more and more public and school libraries are beginning to adopt the trend of allowing students to bring food into the library within reason. “Allowing students to bring their sack or cafeteria lunches…to the library…can…further enhance the student-friendly atmosphere that school librarians are cultivating in their libraries” Moreillon says.
Obviously, librarians may need to set certain restrictions on foods and consequences for student failure to clean up leftovers and trash, but ultimately, students will be happier.
The concept of managing a library that allows food may seem daunting, but in actuality, it is a system that has already been implemented in many schools. According to their school website, Alameda High School—a school of nearly 2,000 students—designates a specific area of their school library for eating.
The idea of allowing food in the library is slowly becoming the norm, and CHS is dreadfully behind the times. Through allocating areas of the library for students to enjoy their lunch, the library can create a productive lunchtime environment in which students can collaborate on projects and utilize library materials.
It would be the best of both worlds.