Media specialist discusses eating and drinking policies of media center


Katie Whaley

RBHS’media center stands in the heart of the school. Inside lays the gray blue carpet and sits wooden tables, towering bookshelves and large desks. Since its relocation into the center of the school 18 years ago, the library remains consistent and virtually unchanged. Likewise, policies such as no eating and drinking, remain unchanging since the opening of the hub.

Media specialist Dennis Murphy said the no eating and drinking policy keeps the media center clean and neat as it is today, maintaining the condition of the furniture for all 18 years. Without the rule, Murphy worries for potential damages to students’ materials and media center equipment.
“It’s not meant to be a terrible thing that you can’t have [food or drink] in here. It’s meant to protect what we have. If you look around to other places [in the school] where kids eat and drink, you’ll see the trash,” Murphy said. “One of the biggest problems for cleaning people is cleaning after people in here because we may have 100 people at a time in here. You take even 20 percent of those [students] throwing stuff down, it makes a big mess. If you’ve ever walked around in here and looked at the spots, [despite] the rules that we have already, it’s still a big problem.”
Every year, Murphy said specialists have to remind students of the rules; however, there have never been any huge issues. He wishes students would understand why the regulations are in place and that students cannot bend them based off circumstance.
“We used to have all the computers in here, yeah, that was always a big part of [the eating and drinking rules],” Murphy said. “There [are] lots of places you can eat and drink in the building. If you’re dying of thirst, you can get a little exercise and walk to the water fountain.”
Senior Madison Hopper sympathizes with the struggle media center specialists face. She realizes it can be difficult for them to remind hundreds of students a day not to eat and drink. The rules, she believes, serve a clear purpose, and students should respect those rules.  “I understand why the media center is strictly enforcing the no food or drink rule this year. Over the course of the year, plenty of students spill drinks on their laptop or get crumbs in their keyboard,” Hopper said. “When that happens, the library has to deal with broken laptops.”
Conversely, junior Anna Kirby views the no food and drink policy as hindering. When she studies in the library, she believes it would be more convenient and productive to students if they were allowed to have snacks and water while they work.
“I don’t always eat at lunch because I have A lunch. So then by the time I’m in AUT [in fourth hour] I’m really hungry, but I also need to be studying so it’s really convenient when you can snack and eat at the same time [as studying],” Kirby said. “Also, you’re not allowed to have a closed water bottle on the table. I understand if you risk it falling on a computer, but if there’s no computer on the table you don’t run that risk.”
Kirby said media specialists should experiment with allowing students to eat and drink for a duration of time. That way, she said, there would be evidence that students are not responsible enough to have food and drink in the library.
“The motto of Rock Bridge is freedom with responsibility,” Kirby said, “so they should maybe try out a testing period where we should be responsible for our own messes we would make.”
Murphy, however, sees water as an equal issue as other food and drink. Though he knows students need to stay hydrated, he said the library is not the place for drinks with all the potential risks of spilling.
“[Students will] say, ‘Why can’t we just have water?’ Well, water still spills on things,” Murphy said. “‘Well why can’t we have water in clear bottles to see it’s water?’ Well, it’s much easier just to not have it at all. Then there’s no question. That’s the way it’s always been.”
What do you think about the no eating or drinking policy in the media center? Tell us in the comments below!