Willis Library cafe to close over summer

Willis Library cafe to close over summer

Willis Library cafe to close over summer
April 25
20:45 2019

The Study cafe in Willis Library will close for business over the summer as renovations of the library’s first floor start this summer. A new student dining facility owned by Dining Services will replace the independently-operated cafe in a new location on the first floor.

The decision to close The Study and shift library food service ownership came from Dean of Libraries Diane Bruxvoort, in conjunction with the Library and Dining Services administrations and Provost Jennifer Evans-Cowley. The Study is currently completely managed by UNT Libraries.

Bruxvoort, who began serving as dean last April, said that The Study was breaking even with income and expenses, and that it was always a “service to the students” rather than a source of profit for the library.

Bruxvoort said that Dining Services will “do better” with offering UNT students new options in Willis.

“As librarians, we’ll get out of the food service business,” Bruxvoort said. “I think it’s the best decision to serve our students — we do still want to provide food and drink in the library. The Study is nice but doesn’t provide as much as Dining Services can, [such as] students being able to use their dining cards.”

The Study, located by the entrance of Willis Library, replaced the Cyber Café in 2014. Image by: Mallory Cammarata

Bruxvoort said that within the first six months of her tenure, plans were organized to renovate the first floor of the library, including moving the two Access Services information desks to the current location of the cafe and multi-use classroom over the summer and eventually replacing the information desk area with a new food service facility.

Bruxvoort said she “would not be surprised” if the library were without a food service for “a couple months” during the changeover.

“We really hope to do as much as possible over the summer, but we expect there will still be some work [on the dining facility] happening in the fall term,” Bruxvoort said.

Psychology freshman Kenneth Valencia said he loves the range of available snacks and drinks sold by The Study and would love to see “services fit for a library” and its student patrons come from the new dining option.

“When in Willis, most students want to stay up and study, but some get drowsy, so I would like to see them [keep] a coffee bar,” Valencia said. “Also, when people eat big meals, they tend to get drowsy, so maybe types of food I’d love to see there would be light and not heavy like fried food.”

In the process of the library dining service changing ownership, current student workers at The Study will no longer be employed by UNT Libraries once the cafe closes.

Media arts sophomore Javier Perez, who currently works at The Study, said the change is “unfortunate” as The Study is an on-campus job that differs from the rest.

“It’s the one job on campus that’s separate [from UNT], where we don’t have to wear a uniform,” Perez said. “UNT is monopolizing everything and taking opportunity away from smaller local businesses, like The Study. I like new changes, but I don’t like them at the cost of students.”

Plans are also in place to “open up” the first floor with more visibility and an additional 150 to 200 student seats, Bruxvoort said. Offices for 12 staff members at the back of the first floor have relocated to the lower level to make way for a new classroom and increased light from the windows on the library’s west façade.

Bruxvoort said the renovations to the library’s “brutalist architecture” will ultimately benefit the old building but “a fair amount of disruption” will have to be accommodated for as construction continues into the fall.

Willis is due for a mechanical, electrical and plumbing update to begin sometime next school year. Bruxvoort said “large sections” of the library will need to close at times during the construction period, and that students might be recommended to use the Eagle Commons library in Sycamore Hall or Media Library in Chilton Hall.

Willis will operate on adjusted operating hours over the summer to allow construction to take place overnight but will return to continuous service for the fall term. Bruxvoort said that while renovations will continue through the new school year, “much of the actual work” will take place overnight.

“Willis is not a new building, and it’s never going to be a new building,” Bruxvoort said. “We want to at least have it be as welcoming as possible. I have great faith that it’s going to be really nice.”

Featured Image: The Study is a cafe inside Willis Library. They will be acquired by UNT dining services. Image by: Mallory Cammarata. 

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that the closing date for The Study is set for sometime during the summer, and not at the conclusion of the spring semester.

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Francisco Fregoso

Francisco Fregoso

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3 Comments

  1. @ willis
    @ willis April 26, 12:50

    The timing for the closure is actually less on a linear, cut-and-dry timeline and more on a domino-effect timeline. Basically, a lot of people in the library aren’t sure when exact changes are happening yet (unfortunately). But The Study should still be here through some of the summer before being replaced!

    Reply to this comment
  2. Ted
    Ted April 28, 13:11

    What about the 21 international students who works at information desk who is getting laid off by these decisions? Will you be offering jobs for them or just laying them off?

    Reply to this comment
    • Jay
      Jay May 02, 10:38

      Who said the information desk was closing? The Study staff are the one’s needing to seek employment.

      Reply to this comment

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