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Friday, 22 November 2019

The splash on my words: Food in the library

by Mrs Jabulile Sibisi–Mshengu 
Many libraries have issues with books returned with coffee stains, food stains, and covers that are sticky with who knows what.

Library staff normally find sweet wrappers, apple cores, branded fast food packaging etc thrown behind books on the shelves, chocolate ground into our carpets, and crumbs everywhere.
Crumbs attract cockroaches and other insects. Most staff members really do not want to deal with mice and ants all over the library. Library workers are not equipped to clean up this type of filth.

There are unspoken rules for the library

Rules are everywhere. Some rules are acquired whilst others are learnt: keep to the left when riding the escalator, turn off your mobile phone at the movies, or wait in an orderly line to place your coffee order. In the Library, it works much the same. There are some rules that are set in black and white and others we can fill you in on. 
Here is a friendly reminder about some of the UKZN Library rules that you might not know about.

  • Food or open beverage containers are not permitted near computer workspaces (only spill-proof beverage containers are allowed).
  • Do not consume or be intoxicated with alcohol
  • Do not put your food in your bag together with library material.
  • Avoid eating snacks and drinking beverages while handling or working around library materials.
  • Do not litter, cause any mess or leave the library computer LANS and Research Commons in an untidy state. For more information:

Messing with my brain

Do food and drinks damage library material only?
The answer is NO.
UKZN libraries are open for 24 hours. Some students are part time who work in the day and use library material at night.

  • Eating and drinking in the library is not only about messing the building and library material. It also disturbs the user’s concentration.
  • Eating in the library can make others hungry and if they are trying to work, then thinking of food can ruin their levels of concentration.
  • Smelly food can put other users off their work and leave unpleasant smells around the library.
  • Smelly food can also lead to people getting sick.
  • Some people make sounds when they eat which could disturb others.
My suggestion is that libraries should have an eating area where users are allowed to eat. It will also help to reduce the mess and overflowing dustbins.

CalPolyPomona University Library.(2019). Code of conduct for library users. Available: https://www.cpp.edu/~library/access-services/circulation/code-of-conduct.shtml {Accessed 10 October 2019}
Ngcobo , N. (2018). 24 Hour Service: UKZN Libraries responding to student’s needs. Available http://libwebteam.blogspot.com/search/label/Nonjabulo%20Ngcobo {Accessed 10 October 2019}
University of California San Francisco. (2019). Food and drinks: Allowed with some exceptions. Available: https://www.library.ucsf.edu/about/policies/food/ {Accessed 8 October 2019}
University of KwaZulu-Natal Libraries. (2009) Code of conduct.  Available: http://library.ukzn.ac.za/TopNav/GeneralInformation/CodeofConduct.aspx  {Accessed 15 October 2019 }
University of Western Australia library. Food and drink in the library: Can I eat and drink in the library. Available:  https://ipoint.uwa.edu.au/app/answers/detail/a_id/2737/~/food-and-drink-in-the-library {Accessed 15 October 2019}

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