The University of Iowa strives for an enlightened area for students and staff to study and enjoy a meal.
By ANNA HOBART
IOWA CITY, IA – While construction started last semester, students have been making due with the shortened amount of study space and the loud interruptions during the early morning. Even though many students pass through the library whether it’s to study, go to class, or just grab a cup of coffee, not many know what all the construction is going to bring to the library.
The number of visitors to The University of Iowa Main Library have dropped during renovations, but the new construction brings hope of drawing in additional foot traffic due to it’s new plans that are to be done in the near future.
Even though some have heard of the study areas that will become available on the first floor, very few have heard of the new Food for Thought area.
“I have literally heard construction,” John Baker said, a junior at The University of Iowa, “but haven’t heard anything about what’s going on.”
This new eating area would consist of multiple registers for easier and quicker check out, panini sandwiches, espresso drinks, smoothies, and most importantly a seating area with booths and tables, according to Kristi Bontrager, Manager of Public Relations at The University of Iowa Main Library.
“I think that would be a great addition to the library,” said Jessica Lewandowski, a sophomore at The University of Iowa.
When the Food for Thought counter was put in they noticed that something would have to be done to the size of the space and the availability of food items.
It was “a lot more apparent for need of a larger location,” said Terry Endreshak, Food for Thought Coordinator. “A lot more traffic than anticipated” started to come through the library which is one reason the new construction has begun.
Currently the Food for Thought area is similar to that of a concession stand at a football game. There is no seating and you are on your own to find somewhere to eat your meal.
“It’s nothing more than a food window,” said Bontrager.
Many students who do not have time to hurry over to the Iowa Memorial Union between classes, head to the library because it’s the only place you don’t need a [proximity] card to get into, according to Baker.
There is constantly a long line during the twenty minute mark every hour during lunch. The only problem is that there is usually nowhere to sit unless you head up to the second floor.
“You walk up to the window, you buy your food and then you … wander around with it,” Bontrager chuckles. The booths and tables at the new Food for Thought will be a great asset to the library.
Due to the increase in size, from a small area that will end up as storage, to a service area that is three times it’s size, this may influence the hiring of more employees. Right now the question of hiring new employees is a touch and go process due to the fact that the staff at the library and Endreshak are not sure how much more traffic Food for Thought will bring in.
The construction has been pushed back from being completed in August 2013, to December 2013. Many are excited for the new additions and word of mouth is sure to bring some hungry students to the future Food for Thought at the Main Library.