Mississippi College

Leland Speed Library Welcomes MC Coffee Shop

July 21, 2009

A new coffee shop will soon brew cups of java for sale to students and other patrons at the Leland Speed Library.

Not far from the Mississippi College library's lobby, the aroma of fresh coffee should be wafting in the air in mid-August. The coffee shop is part of extensive renovations this summer at the MC library - from paint jobs to comfortable new furniture.

Sodexo, the company that runs food service operations in the MC cafeteria and directs the original Jazzman's in the B.C. Rogers Student Center, is staffing the newest coffee outlet on the Clinton campus. It figures to be a much smaller version of the Jazzman's concept, with coffee and muffins for sale at the library location.

Coffee lovers like Hope Smith said the new shop is situated right across from her office and she expects it to be a popular gathering place. "I know students will really like it," Smith said. A circulation assistant, she hikes across campus to the bigger Jazzman's and will soon be a customer at the cafe closer to her job.

For years, the Leland Speed Library space was an office for librarians. Desks and books were jammed in there. In a few weeks, it will be filled by the sounds of coffee machines - whether regular, decaf or iced coffee. Other colleges and universities operate similar coffee shops in their libraries.

Work, meanwhile, continues to upgrade the building, including the MC library's circulation desk at the same time stairs are being retreaded. Books, movie tapes, paintings, and journals are being moved around while renovations stay on track.

MC senior Charlie Simpkins, 23, of Brandon, will be among those lining up for the coffee shop's opening day before classes begin in late August. Coffee in the library will be a positive thing, he believes. "It will keep everybody up and awake when they need to study," said the elementary education major. "Hopefully it will encourage more people to come to the library."

His favorite brew? A creamy chocolate mocha that's piping hot. "This will make it more convenient when we work long shifts," added the MC library student worker.

MC senior Kelli Smith, of Brandon used to work at a coffee shop - the Cups on Lakeland Drive in Jackson. She's a student worker at the Leland Speed Library with plans to earn her elementary education degree in 2010. "I go to Jazzman's a lot," Kelli said. The new location will save steps for her and others at Mississippi College, she said. "It will be really good."

The University of Mississippi is home to a coffee shop in its library on the main campus in Oxford. "It has been a huge success there," said MC library director Kathleen Hutchison. "It significantly increased their gate count in the library and created a more comfortable learning space," she said. "We want to create a great learning environment. The buzzword is library as place. We want excellent resources and services to inspire excellent teaching, learning and research."

The University of Southern Mississippi and Mississippi State University also run popular coffee shops in their campus libraries.

The concept has long been popular in bookstores. Borders has a Seattle Drip cafe at its bookstore at the Dogwood Festival Market in Flowood. Patrons like to read books and magazines, while enjoying conversations in hushed tones over coffee.

Some rules will be established to deal with the MC library shop. Coffee can be toted around the MC library as long as a top sits on the cup, Hutchison said.

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