Carnegie Mellon Libraries enforces food restrictions

Starting Sept. 10, Carnegie Mellon University Libraries will be enforcing new food policies across all campus library locations. Changes to the libraries’ food policies have been gradual, starting with last year’s food restriction on Hunt Library’s fourth floor to protect the artifacts in the Fine and Rare Books Room. However, a survey sent out to the community indicated the need to expand food restrictions to other floors and locations.

Shannon Riffe, Carnegie Mellon’s Director of Marketing and Communications, explains that feedback was varied, with about half of the respondents supporting further restrictions while the other half didn’t want any change. “Those survey results, coupled with what we were experiencing in the libraries prompted us to re-evaluate our food policy,” said Riffe.

As more and more students have taken advantage of the university’s library services over the past ten years, Riffe notes that staff members have observed an increase in vermin, food spillage, overfull trashcans, and complaints from patrons and employees. Although snacks and covered beverages are still allowed in many locations, limiting full meals from students will ultimately decrease the volume of food and the resulting trash and and uninvited critters that staff members and other patrons have to deal with. Students who are caught violating this new policy will be asked to move to another floor or area to finish their meal.

These new restrictions are focused primarily on protecting the libraries’ collection of books while being more lenient in areas without books “such as the basement of Hunt and the collaborative work area in Sorrells,” explains Riffe. For example, “while the first floor of Hunt houses our reference collection, the Maggie Murph café is a great amenity for our visitors, so it made sense to continue to allow meals there.”

By doing their part in complying with these new rules, students will help to ensure we “maintain a comfortable, clean environment for our patrons and preserve our collections,” says Riffe.

The new policy can be accessed online at Students are invited to let the university know what they think of these new policies by visiting

Drinks & Snacks
Non-alcoholic drinks in covered containers and small, contained snacks are permitted throughout Libraries spaces with the exception of:

Hunt Library, Fine and Rare Books Room
Hunt Library, University Archives
Hunt Library, Computer Cluster in the basement
Mellon Institute Library, Main Reading Area
The Posner Center

Meals and food in carryout containers are permitted only in the following areas:

Hunt Library, First floor
Hunt Library, Basement
Sorrells Library, Collaborative Work Area
Mellon Institute Library Periodicals Rooms
Be Courteous

Alternate Locations
Near Hunt Library - Posner Hall, first and second floors; Baker Hall A-level; Cohon University Center
Near Sorrells Library - Scott Hall, Rotheberg's Roasters II
Outdoors - Peace Garden, bistro chairs in front of Hunt Library, Adirondack chairs on The Cut