Libraries should be supported, not coffee shops

Dylan Burkett/The Cougar

Students should support libraries, not coffee shops, as they are a cheaper and reliable alternative that provide endless resources to students.

Coffee shops are praised by all for their ideal learning environment but the benefits seem to be dwindling. 

The sweet aroma of bitter beans, the grinding of the machine, the soft music playing behind the joyful chatter of jovial guests, coffeehouses find themselves as the perfect catch-up and study spot for people of all ages.

However, while the buzzing and aromatic setting of a coffee shop welcomes guests, it can also distract them. 

There needs to be a certain amount of ambience in the environment to create a perfect study space. 

The constant chatter, the whirring of blenders, the music that is always slightly too loud and the seats that never seem to empty themselves can make coffee shops overstimulating for many students.

Headphones and some lo-fi music can drown out some chatter but it can’t block out the running guests, the friend group huddled together or the man who has spilled at least half his drink on his shirt.

Moreover, coffee shops seem to only be getting more expensive. While an average cup of coffee only costs around $3, upgrading size, milk, syrups and more can raise the cost to easily over $5. 

For many college students, a daily $5 drink just isn’t realistic. 

There are many alternatives to cut down on coffee spending, such as getting your own machine, learning the ins and outs of what you like and finding that mug that strikes just enough joy in your heart.

However, there just seems to be something so dazzling about having your favorite barista make it for you.

For many college students, that $5 of ecstasy is more reasonably treated as a weekly indulgence than as an everyday occurrence.

To add on, many people find that doing things at home or in the same place makes tasks seem more unbearable than before, especially since the pandemic. 

Some students report feeling a Pavlov effect towards coffee shops, almost like they are unable to be productive in their studies without being in that environment.

This is unsurprising as coffee shops are found practically everywhere. As of 2022, there are approximately 65,410 coffee shops in the U.S. 

Places like the University follow this pattern, with students choosing if they want to get their daily fix at Cougar Grounds, Starbucks or The Nook. 

However, there is a cheaper and easier alternative to helping students get out of the house and study: libraries. 

Public libraries give students all the best tools for success: access to databases and research sources, textbooks and other books needed for classes and a space dedicated to studying.

Wandering through book-lined halls, it’s almost impossible to not be inspired to get some work done. 

Moreover, University libraries help allow students to become more engrossed in the on-campus community, provide digital detoxes, rooms for study groups and create a sense of tranquility that coffee shops generally lack. 

Now, more than ever, is the time to support local libraries as they face much backlash from current book bans and are dying out due to being overtaken by coffee shops.

Many librarians report feeling overwhelmed from harassment amid the government book bans. 

This year, the American Library Association reported a record number of books being challenged, whether it be because they are too graphic, challenge religion or other preposterous reasons.

To help both libraries and get students motivated to tackle academics, students should feel encouraged to take the switch from studying in coffee shops to libraries. 

Not only will students be saving money, they will make sure libraries continue to be there for those who need them.

Sarah Elise Shea is a freshman English literature major who can be reached at [email protected]

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