We Get Suggestions

A couple of recent suggestions:

– “Please get a coffee vending machine for the Biomedical Library. Thanks!”

The library received the anonymous request above, as well as a more formal request from the first-year medical students. I’m sorry to say that the Biomedical Library will not be providing a coffee vending machine in the near future. We have done a good amount of investigation, and it does not look possible on a number of fronts.

The biggest challenge is from a business model perspective. Library administration is firm that providing a vending machine at the Biomedical Library must be done at no cost to the Libraries. With easily accessible providers of coffee (ClubMed, Leichtag Coffee Cart) available through the morning and early afternoon, it is unlikely that a vending machine would consistently generate enough business during the remainder of the day to break even. Knowledgeable campus officials have given us their assessment that the vendor would likely want to remove the vending machine, or ask the Library to subsidize the cost of the machine in as little as six months.

Another significant challenge is logistics – from a traffic flow/facility cleanliness perspective, the best location for a vending machine would be the breezeway. Unfortunately, there is no water or sewer access in the breezeway, and conservative estimates put the cost of adding this at $10,000. We are aware that there are self-contained units, but these require daily maintenance – the Library is not willing to take this on, and vending companies would expect a significant profit to provide this level of maintenance. As described above, we are not confident these profits would materialize.

Due to the Library’s current struggle to maintain facility cleanliness, we are not willing to provide vending machines, or any associated food service materials (microwave, etc), with the inevitable additional mess, elsewhere in the Library.

I’m sorry we couldn’t satisfy this request. We will continue to evaluate if it’s possible to provide this type of service in the future.

– “Keep the library open past 6pm on Saturdays, especially during Finals”

Over the years, the most frequent request we’ve received related to the Library’s hours has been to stay open past 6pm on Saturdays. Some of the factors we consider with this question include staffing, and the cost of keeping the facility open.
– From a staffing perspective, providing longer hours on Saturday would require two more staff members to work that day. There would be a significant cost associated with this, as well as more problems related to staff illnesses and vacations.
– From the facility cost perspective, it’s important to understand that it takes a large amount of energy to provide light and climate control for the Library. We would have to see a lot of use of the facility to justify the added cost. Based on experience throughout the UCSD Libraries, Saturday evening is usually not a busy night.

We’re hoping that the soon to be completed expansion of the Price Center, including a 24 hour study lounge may provide a location for students wanting to study outside our open hours.

Thanks for the suggestions!

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