Food and drink: earthly nourishment at the Angers University Library

Maxime Szczepanski-Huillery, director of the Belle-Beille library at Angers University, presents a service that sets out to be modern and dynamic. Large numbers of students use the library, often in groups, as a work space rather than to consult the resources. As a result, the staff often find it hard to preserve suitable working conditions for those who do need to use the library’s resources: it has proved particularly challenging to stop students from eating, drinking, and chatting. The library prides itself on reacting to user feedback and set up three zones in response to a 2008 LibQUAL+ survey where users can chat, talk quietly, or work in silence. The library has now taken a pragmatic approach, allowing students to eat but requiring them to clean up after themselves and to chat but to agree to be quiet when asked by other users! This solution has only been possible because the library staff have taken on board the new working habits and practices adopted by students.