Law Library Food and Drink Policy

Providing a professional (quiet and without distraction) study environment, preserving library materials and equipment, and providing a student-friendly study space that includes food and drink can be incompatible goals. For many years academic law libraries have not permitted food in the library in order to help preserve their collections. "No food" policies are still in place at major academic law libraries such as Yale, Iowa, and Michigan. Attempting to strike an appropriate balance is the purpose of the Washburn Law Library Food and Drink policy.

On a trial basis, beginning Fall 2011, Washburn Law Library, in coordination with the Washburn Student Bar Association (WSBA), is testing the following policy involving food and drink in the library to accommodate student requests for a more student-friendly study environment.

  1. Packaged snacks, cold sandwiches or fruit in closed containers, and beverages in closed, non-spillable containers may be consumed in the library away from library collections, library books, computers, and equipment. These types of items may be consumed in the library but only at individual study carrels and study tables. Food and drink are not allowed in the Computer Lab and around other electronic Library equipment. Food is not allowed in Group Study rooms (but drinks in closed, non-spillable containers are OK).
  2. The following are representative of the types of food not allowed in the library: odorous, greasy, noisy when eaten (e.g., pizza, soup, tacos, burgers), and meals and restaurant foods (e.g., fast food items and microwaveable meals). These types of food must be consumed outside the library.
  3. Students are expected to clean up after eating in the library. Remember, food and food packaging attracts bugs. Dispose of crumbs and trash in appropriate closed garbage containers so that a clean, presentable environment is maintained. WSBA will provide cleaning supplies in the copier rooms on each level of the library. Report any spills you cannot effectively clean up to staff at the library circulation desk so that appropriate action can be taken. Wash your hands with soap and water after eating and before using library materials or computer equipment.
  4. This policy will be reviewed in January 2012 by the library staff and WSBA to assess its effectiveness and compliance by students.

Questions about this policy should be directed to Angel Romero angel.romero [at], WSBA Representative at Large and student member of the Faculty Library and Technology Committee, and/or Professor John Christensen, Library Director.

September 1, 2011