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Winning name for Vanderbilt library café underscores its purpose

by Apr. 21, 2011, 2:46 PM

Food for Thought Cafe interior
(Steve Green/Vanderbilt)

The new café in Vanderbilt Central Library will be known as Food for Thought after a naming survey of the university community generated more than 1,200 responses.

“We were delighted by the overwhelming response from students, faculty, staff and alumni who took the time to express their preferences from a list of ideas initially compiled by our library employees,” Connie Vinita Dowell, dean of libraries, said. She noted that “Food for Thought” was among the three top choices of those who responded, and Richard McCarty, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, made the final decision.

We were delighted by the overwhelming response from students, faculty, staff and alumni who took the time to express their preferences from a list of ideas initially compiled by our library employees.

The café, located on the south end of the library’s fourth floor, was built during an extensive renovation of the 70-year-old building to address the needs of current students and faculty while improving the experiences of community visitors.

“The library renovation, specifically the Food for Thought café, has provided students with a facility that matches their intellectual curiosity and fervor,” said David Head, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Science and chief of staff for Vanderbilt Student Government. ”Food for Thought is a location where students and faculty can go to catch up, study or engage in academic debate. As such, it serves as a microcosm for the goal of the library system in its entirety – the promotion of critical thought and active learning.”

Sandwiches, panini, salads, soup, gourmet pastries, the café’s exclusive library coffee blend and other beverages, are offered from 11 a.m. to one half-hour before the library’s closing Monday through Friday and from 3 p.m. to one half-hour before the library’s closing on Sunday. The café also has an adjoining wireless terrace with covered tables and chairs for those who want to dine outside.

“One of the café’s distinctive features is the library’s original card catalogue that now functions as a “wall” between the serving and seating areas,” Dowell said. “Judging by the puzzled expressions of many of the current students who come to the café, they have no idea that previous generations on campus would search for books by thumbing through the catalogue’s index cards.”

The café accepts the Vanderbilt meal plan, meal money, credit and debit cards as well as cash.

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