Library Employee Food and Drink Policy


Where there is food and drink, book-loving mice, cockroaches, and silverfish frequently follow. Pests can nest in and eat books, and, in addition to being damaging, their waste poses health risks for both Library employees and users. Prevention is the best and least toxic method of pest control in the Library. Library employees are encouraged to eat in designated break rooms whenever possible and dispose of their food waste appropriately. The following document addresses desired employee behaviors in (1) private staff workspaces and (2) public space and workspaces where employees are observable by the public.

Employee Food and Drink in Private Work Areas:

  1. Pending unit head approval, employees are permitted to eat and drink in private workspaces; however, they are responsible for removing library materials from their desks or other work surfaces whenever food is being consumed. These areas are to be cleaned before returning library materials to them.
  2. Employees are responsible for removing from the Library their food wrappings, containers, and food waste (including coffee grounds) daily. Personal wastebaskets, office wastebaskets, and those in public or private bathrooms should not to be used for food waste disposal, as they are not emptied daily.
  3. Beverages in spill-proof or spill-resistant containers are permitted throughout the building. A spill-proof or resistant container may be a travel mug with a snap-on lid and a retractable mechanism that covers the drink opening when not in use or a container with a screw or snap-on lid that permits the user to “sip” from the lid. These do not include paper or foam cups. Non-spill resistant containers are permitted only when not in view of the public.
    1. Water bottles or soda bottles are permitted in public service areas only when they have screw-on sports caps or other spill resistant devices.
  4. Employee parties should be held in non-public areas or spaces not in ready public view. Unit heads are responsible for making sure food wastes from parties are disposed of in accordance with this policy.
    1. For those units without private spaces, please clearly differentiate between special events and daily operations.
  5. Containers used for storing food and candy must have lids.
  6. Units should regularly clean their microwave ovens, refrigerators, food preparation and storage spaces.
  7. Food in lockers and desks should be stored in air-tight containers.

Employee Food and Drink in Publicly Observable Areas:

  1. Library employees should never prepare food or eat in public areas, except during Library sponsored parties such as those held in the Rare Book Room for designated purposes. Examples include those held for development or staff morale. Parties should conform to the guidelines enumerated in this document.
  2. Food brought into the Library should be concealed. Employees carrying food and drink openly may give patrons the impression that the Library is not serious about its prohibitions on food and drink in the building.
  3. Employees bringing beverages into the building should use spill-resistant containers (as defined above) for transporting the beverages in any places that are publicly accessible.
  4. Coffee makers and other food preparation equipment (refrigerators, microwaves, etc.) should be kept out of public view.
  5. Pending unit head approval, consumption of beverages in publicly observable or accessible unit space is permissible if the beverage is in a spill-proof or spill-resistant container (as described above). A spill-proof or resistant container may be a travel mug with a snap-on lid and a retractable mechanism that covers the drink opening when not in use or a container with a screw or snap-on lid that permits the user to “sip” from the lid.


Unit heads are responsible for implementing and enforcing this policy in their units. This policy applies to the Main Library Building, Grainger Engineering Library, the Undergraduate Library, ACES, and to all library units in other campus buildings. This policy applies to all Library employees – faculty, staff, graduate assistants, and student assistants. Outside of designated break areas, unit heads, working within the guidelines set forth in this document, are the final judges of whether and where staff may eat and drink in their work areas. The adoption of a more restrictive policy is at the discretion of unit heads.

Preservation Committee – March 5, 2002 (Revised March 22, May 30, July 3, and Nov. 4, 2002)
LSSC Review – March 27, 2002
Administrative Council Approval – April 7, 2003