Gelman Library may add Starbucks

Students will be able to grab a cup of joe on their way to the Gelman Library stacks next year if GW and Starbucks sign a contract currently being negotiated.

University Librarian Jack Siggins said the coffee shop would be located in the current first-floor, 24-hour reading room. Construction would begin in the summer, and the cafe would be completed by early fall.

Siggins said the approximately 1,800 square foot cafe would not be open 24 hours.

“(I) fully expect (negotiations) to go OK,” said Siggins, who added that the University has been trying to build a coffee shop in the library for eight years.

A University official who requested anonymity confirmed that GW was negotiating with Starbucks. Siggins declined to say which coffee shop students might see.

Starbucks spokesman Kenny Fried said he could not comment on a potential facility until a lease is signed.

The project would cost GW about half a million dollars, Siggins said. He also said the library would be donating $250,000 from an outside donor “who has been very helpful in the past.”

Eric Hougen, project manager for the Office of Business and Operations, whose office deals with contract negotiations, declined to comment on a potential library dining venue.

The first-floor reading room, lower level computer lab and fourth and fifth floor rooms are current 24-hour spots in the library.

Siggins said he would seek student feedback about opening another floor, “certainly during exams,” for round the clock use. He also noted that “since we’re in the library, (the shop) won’t be disruptive.” He said officials are considering whether to play music.

The Gelman Starbucks would be the second on campus – there is already a branch in the Marvin Center.

“If it has the same hours as (the Marvin Center’s shop), it’s really not necessary or any better,” said sophomore Laura Melchor, with a Starbucks cup in hand.

Many students said a second coffee shop would be convenient and give students a place to relax while studying.

“People end up sneaking food into the library anyway. (Officials) may as well give it up,” sophomore Zeyad Layous said.

But freshman Chris Hsu said the library should not be a place for social gatherings.

“(They’d be) putting something corporate in a library, it’s a place to study,” Hsu said. “All (students) will do is go down there and make it into a social study (room).”

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