Walk in the Lila D. Bunch Library this semester, and you’ll immediately catch a whiff of one of the biggest changes the library has had in years. The aroma? Coffee.
The new café, Bruin Grounds, opened to the right of the library’s circulation desk in mid-August as part of a larger change to make the library a more modern, student-accommodating facility.
The café came to fruition after years of off-and-on talks between Belmont SGA and library officials, said library director Dr. Ernest Heard. Last year’s SGA administration, led by Eric S. Deems and Kevin Sanders, was key to getting the ball rolling and start serious conversations, Heard said.
“They were interested enough not only to meet with me but to put their efforts and energy behind this, especially talking with the president and facilitating the president’s involvement in this project,” he said.
These discussions ultimately led to approval for both the café and the 24/5 plan, library hours 24 hours a day, five days a week implemented last spring.
“We have a vision for the library into transitioning the library into a learning commons, where we have a lot of different services that aren’t traditionally thought of in the library,” Heard said. “It brings people in for a service that isn’t traditionally found in a library.”
“The faculty and staff response has been fantastic,” she said. “I’m really excited for students to try it out.”
The café will have its grand opening from 10 a.m.-noon, Wednesday, Aug. 31. Students will be able to select one previously student-submitted coffee drink that will become a signature drink on the café’s menu.
The café’s menu features a variety of aptly named sandwiches and salads, including the peanut butter and banana Curious George sandwich; the Grapes of Wrath salad with grilled chicken, grapes and feta; and the ham, egg, and cheese Hamlet breakfast sandwich. The cafe will also serve Peet’s coffee and espresso and will accept Bruin Bucks and dining points.