Lattes made with rich espresso and steamed milk. Salads tossed with falafel and a side of hummus. A bowl of spicy chicken gumbo soup.
The recently expanded Jumping Bean Café in the Queen Elizabeth II Library is filling a unique niche on Memorial’s St. John’s campus.
“There seems to be a wide variety of people using and enjoying the new space,” said Rob Ball, manager of library facilities. “Students, faculty and staff seem to be using the space to connect, network and get work done.”
The café, which opened in early January, is a collaboration between Ancillary Operations, Facilities Management, Memorial University Libraries, Aramark and Student Life.
‘It offers space’
Sociology student Muhammad Mansour and pharmacy student Nitra Waghmare sit at a far table in the corner of the café working late into the afternoon. Laptops open, heads down.
The café offers them a new option for working together on their course work. As a pharmacy student, Ms. Waghmare typically uses the Health Sciences Library, but walked across campus to work with Mr. Mansour at the café.
“I like how big it is. It’s really spacious. It was easy to find a table,” she said. “And the background noise is almost like white noise when you are studying.”
“It offers space depending on what you are doing,” said Mr. Mansour. “It has communal space if you want to study at the round tables, but also spaces to hang out and just have coffee and then there’s the solo space for people who just want to sit and be quiet. And the menu is so much better.”
The power of partnership
“The library is already a focal point for students, faculty and researchers as a hub for various services and support,” said Louise McGillis, associate university librarian. “We are finding an increasing number of students are doing all kinds of formal and informal learning in spaces like library cafés.”
Memorial’s Department of Facilities Management and Ancillary Operations worked closely with Memorial University Libraries on the construction and design of the café. Initially, budget constraints and fiscal realities challenged the possibility of even making the project happen.
“At that point Facilities Management’s minor capital project team got involved to see if we could deliver the project within the available budget,” said Mike Foley, manager, minor capital projects. “In collaboration with all stakeholders, our team did indeed deliver the project within budget and, equally important, the space meets the user requirements.”
If end results are anything to go by, determination, hard work and creativity can come together with thorough planning to get projects done.
“The café expansion project is a true partnership,” said Susan Cleyle, university librarian. “This partnership extends beyond funding by way of contribution, and really taps into the diverse expertise that we have at Memorial and how it is possible for different units to work together on a shared project and a shared vision to make Memorial better.”