Something else to check out at library: Starbucks

Schools and Starbucks try to lure students from wired coffee shops off campus.

ByABC News
September 28, 2007, 4:35 AM

— -- Students at 30 colleges can check out something besides books at their school libraries this fall: Starbucks.

Five years ago, there wasn't a college library with a Starbucks. Now, they stretch from California State University, Long Beach to University of South Florida, Tampa. Starbucks has 102 campus units, mostly in student centers, spokesman Brandon Borrman says. "We don't have a specific target for colleges."

USF reports an average 147,512 additional patrons a year have used the library since Starbucks opened in it four years ago.

"It's become a campus meeting point," says Jeff Mack, the head of USF campus business services.

At the Cal State Long Beach Starbucks, "Every seat is usually taken," says Roman Kochan, library dean. Spillage and book damage have actually declined since students no longer are hiding food and drinks in their packs, he says.

While most students, faculty and staff embrace permitting coffee shops inside the library, some schools have nixed Starbucks in favor of local chains.

Several years ago, Louisiana State University talked with Starbucks about locating in the library. "A few people felt this was commercialization of academic space," says Jennifer Cargill, dean of libraries at LSU. Instead, a local chain, Community Coffee, went in, and objections disappeared.

Some question whether Starbucks belongs inside the icon of academia.

"The library ought to be the one place that reflects the university's mission and purpose and should be protected from commercial influences," says Robert Weissman, managing director at Commercial Alert, a consumer group.

But Borrman says Starbucks college units are run by licensees who open in locations that the schools select. "The coffeehouse has been part of academic culture for generations," he says.