Crerar coffee shop to nourish late-night study

By Chris Ross

A new student-run coffee shop that opened in Crerar Library on Monday will accommodate students using the all-night study space recently moved there from Regenstein Library.

The coffee shop will occupy the space that formerly housed Plum Café.

“We claimed their old space, and the new shop should be pretty sweet. It’s small, no windows, but the atmosphere is nice,” said Andy Thompson, manager of Ex Libris coffee shop.

The coffee shop will be open from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m, Sunday through Thursday, with a staff of between 6 and 10 employees. Plans call for the shop to resemble in atmosphere and offerings other student-run coffee shops on campus.

“It’s something to make the all-night study space a little more pleasant, so people can get something to eat, something to drink, get some coffee. We had a surprising amount of support from people in the sciences, in the labs near the library,” said Donny Copeland, vice president for Administration in Student Government (SG).

An event on the quads will be set up this week, allowing students to submit potential names for the new coffee shop, Thompson said.

The opening reflects the efforts of the Office of the Reynolds Club and Student Activities (ORCSA) and the student employees at Cobb Coffee Shop, Ex Libris, and Hallowed Grounds, according to Bill Michel, assistant vice president for Student Life.

The decision to install a coffee shop in Crerar was mainly the product of discussions between SG and ORCSA officials. The option became more viable when Stacy Brown was appointed to the newly created post of ORCSA Coffee Shop Coordinator, Copeland said.

Members of ORCSA and SG hope that the new coffee shop will make the Crerar study space more attractive. Many students have expressed desire for the study space to be moved back to the A-level of the Regenstein.

“We are concerned about the issues that you and other students have raised regarding the library’s decision to offer all-night study space at Crerar and would like to better understand these issues,” said Bill Michel and Judith Nadler, director for the University Library, in an e-mail to SG leaders.

The Regenstein, facing a critical lack of room as its print collection continues to grow, was forced to convert the A-level reading room into a temporary book stacks space,

Michel said. Because of the ongoing construction, the study space cannot be moved back to the A-level.

Other students have welcomed the move and look forward to the coffee shop as an additional benefit to a study space seen as less crowded and noisy than the A-level once was.

“I like it. It’s really quiet. The A-level was a madhouse. Crerar can get loud, but nowhere near as bad as the A-level. The space is big and the quiet there is more self-enforced. But there are no machines and not enough power outlets,” said second-year John Cannon, an employee at the Crerar coffee shop.

The all-night study space may or may not permanently reside in Crerar. Discussions among student committees continue to prompt student input about optimal spaces and designs. “One possibility is that there will be two separate spaces, one designed for individual study and the other more amenable to group study,” Michel said.

While the coffee shop aims to make Crerar and the study space more comfortable, SG leaders do not think the cafe will compromise the atmosphere of Crerar Library, known for its work-conducive silence.

“We don’t want to upset the hardcore Crerar people—hopefully it will be an inviting atmosphere,” Copeland said.