One thing I’d change about Oxford: coffee-free libraries

Antonio Gottardello laments the tribulations of studying in Oxford's coffee-free libraries


Whilst the awe-inspiring architecture of Oxford’s libraries is something nobody would wish to distance themselves from, their distracting influence on everyone’s work is beautifully annoying. The cure in the form of a black liquid energiser and stimulant, namely coffee, seems to be the only obvious solution.
And yet, Oxford libraries fail not only to provide this benign substance, but wholly ban its consumption on the understandable grounds of book preservation. But how is one supposed to spend hours sat on old and uncomfortable chairs brushing up on the influence of 16th century Atlantic voyages on Donne’s poetry without a rewarding and comforting sip at the end of every other page or paragraph?

Humans are remarkably adaptable beings, but no one is that adaptable. Oxford’s business school has no such ban on the substance, but it’s easy to see why book preservation wouldn’t be much of an issue there, and why coffee wouldn’t really be of any need.

But for the rest of us, the struggle is a great one indeed. Students are instead forced to work in overcrowded and overpriced cafes, or to briskly consume a take-away coffee which merely satisfies the chemical need, not the pleasure of the uptake in itself.

An answer to this problem is unlikely and even undesirable (for the books’ sake), but sometimes a short rant makes things more bearable.


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