Ban Vending Machines!
Now staff vending machines are okay. If the vending machine is in a staff only spot, that’s fine. But why set any out for patrons? The patrons think because the vending machine is in the library that we librarians are somehow the vending gods, but we are not. We aren’t even demigods in the vending pantheon.
Why do we allow these false gods into our sacred temple of free information? These little altars of commerce negate all that we stand for. A patron can check out all the great books of literature free, but Buddha save you, if he loses seventy-five cents to the vending machine.
Ban vending machines!
The cops have been called twice this week to Library X due to the vending machines. The first incident was during the overnight. A student thought it would be fun to rock the drink machine and make a case of drinks fall out. He wouldn’t listen to staff when ordered to stop or cared about the riot act read to him. The surrounding students didn’t help matters by snickering over the whole ordeal especially when the overnight staff person went back to collect all the drinks to give to the vending machine person when he came by later that night. But our new overnight person has connections. She was a UPD dispatcher before coming to Library X. She called a UPD friend and had the officer come in and read the riot act to not only the student who’d messed with the drink machine but also all the students that had laughed at her. That was pretty awesome.
Tonight, I got a report that the snack machine on a lower floor had been vandalized. The glass front had been completely shattered. There was glass everywhere. I called UPD to come by and take a report and went down to look at the mess, and boy was it a mess! Glass was everywhere. I got a broom and dustpan and started sweeping up.
One odd thing about this vandalism was that it didn’t look like anything was actually stolen. Sure, there were snacks on the floor, but no packages were actually missing. It makes me think that maybe the vandalism wasn’t intentional, but can’t be sure.
The UPD officer that came out was luckily a big burly guy so he was able to turn the machine around to face the wall so students wouldn’t be tempted to take a five finger discount. None of this would’ve happened if we didn’t have vending machines.
Having vending machines in the library seems a much bigger headache than not. The patrons would be extremely pissy when they noticed the machines were gone, but they’d learn to deal. They could still bring full course meals into the library, bring whatever snacks and drinks they wanted, and there would still be free food giveaways throughout the year. The relief of no vending machine complaints would be such a big gain for library staff and faculty. I have to wonder why we put vending machines in the building in the first place. I know the obvious answer. It’s because patrons wanted it. But where do we draw the line on giving patrons what they want? They want a pizzeria in the library too. Are we going to get a pizzeria? What about a DJ spinning house jams? Yeah? What about a nudie bar with pole dancers?
Many academic libraries are already putting coffee shops in the library. So all day at the reference desk, you get to listen to coffee grinding and smell it brewing. I like the idea of a coffee shop near a library, but in the library? Big Research Library has a coffee shop. I’ve tried to use it a few times. Usually the line’s too long, they aren’t accepting plastic that day, or the drink I want is not available, but every time that I went, the place was crowded and the sound deafening because everyone was shouting to be heard over the machinery. I can’t imagine what it would be like to work within ear shot of the place for eight hours. It would drive me batty. (And then I’d fly into the rafters, and animal control would have to come tranq me.)
This is all because of vending machines. By letting them in, we let commerce jam their foot in the door, and more stuff is going to try sneaking in. We’re going to get that pizzeria, the DJ, and the pole dancers. You just watch. The only way to stop it is to slam the door on commerce’s foot and keep the library the free information temple it was supposed to be. Exorcise the commerce devils. Purify the library temple.
Ban vending machines!
Here's a view of the flipside.