Notorious for the unrelenting–albeit work–conducive–silence that pervades the building, the John Crerar Library is seeking to transform its sterile ambiance into an environment more inviting to the University of Chicago student population. This new incentive to appeal to students was sparked after the ever-popular A-level of the Joseph Regenstein Library–may it rest in place–was closed to provide space for the library’s expanding collection. Students thus have begrudgingly started to haunt the all-night study space of the Crerar library, sighing with wistful desire for a more casual and social locale. Consequently, the Office of the Reynolds Club and Student Activities (ORCSA) has unveiled a new addition to its student-run coffee shop collection outside of the USITE computer lab of Crerar to project a less rigid atmosphere.
The Crerar Coffee Shop serves library frequenters from 5pm to 1am Sunday through Thursday. The counter and managerial staff are comprised of a medley of current Ex-Libris and Hallowed Grounds employees who hope to shape the fourth ORCSA installment’s unique personality. The shop now stands sequestered away in teh basement of the library–formerly the location of a Plum Cafe–where ample study space and computer access are readily available to customers. The Crerar Coffee Shop also features a selection of food and drinks similar to those in other student-run shops, although in notably limited quantities as it has only been in operation since the start of fifth week.
The new coffee shop is a welcome change as more students gravitate toward the science quad to pass the wee hours of the night. In spite of the occassional comments from USITE regulars on the silence-breaking volume of music, the coffee shop has met with positive feedback from the Crerar community. Insofar as practicality and convenience go, the opening of the shop meets with no dissent, especially from the caffeine-deprived deadline-pushers that occupy the library’s all night study space. However, depending on the amount of patronage during the closing weeks of Spring Quarter, ORCSA may or may not continue maintaining the coffee shop into the next academic year.
A name for the establishment has yet to be determined due to resource scarcity and time constraints that arose from opening mid-quarter. The staff is currently accepting suggestions and will hold a vote to christen the new installment in the sixth week of the academic quarter. Meanwhile, efforts are being made to raise awareness of the shop and attract more customers.