Starbucks’ location doubles library visitors

Named after a character in “Moby Dick,” Starbucks, located across from the library, allows students to relish in Melville’s classic and sip their coffee at the same time.

Though the location may be convenient for students needing a caffeine break while studying, others think the placement was strategic. Namely, it has doubled the number of library visitors in four years.

“If there wasn’t a Starbucks, you would see less students in the morning at the library,” Alexis Kennedy, a senior, said. “People are tired in the morning, and it’s easy to just walk across and get coffee.”

After the shop opened on Aug. 29, 2004, the library lifted its “No Drink” policy. As a result, students are allowed to bring drinks into the library as long as they have a lid.

There has been a spike of Starbucks cafés in U.S. libraries, which was a calculated move, USA Today reported in September. The Seattle-based company has 102 campus units, mostly in student centers nationwide, the article said.

An example of this growing trend is the University of South Florida in Tampa. USF has approximately 45,000 students. The Starbucks on campus brings in 147,512 additional library visitors a year, the article reported.

Yet, at UM, librarian William Walker credits President Donna E. Shalala for the idea and final decision to put a Starbucks next to Richter.

Shalala said she often visited the Starbucks on U.S. 1, across from the university. Walker remembers that Shalala asked if he would oppose a coffee shop next to the library, noting that she often visited the Starbucks on U.S. 1 across from campus. He said, “No. It’s a magnet that brings people to this part of the campus.”

Still, the coffee “magnet” may be bringing too many people to Richter.

Shalala said during a recent roundtable meeting with student leaders that the university is looking into building a studying area separate from the library because Richter has become “an expensive study hall.”

Walker said that one of the main decisions regarding the coffee shop next to the library was whether it should be Starbucks or home brewed.

“The consensus across campus was it was important for us to have what was considered the best,” he said.

The new Student Activities Center, expected to open in 2012, will also have a Starbucks on the first floor. The university counts the Storm Surge Café as a second Starbucks spot – although with a limited menu. The current location will be removed after the planned construction of a Kosher deli.

The two Starbucks locations on campus are not a coincidence; it is standard company operating procedure to open a second Starbucks near the first in order to capitalize on patronage. With a company goal of opening six Starbucks locations a day, including on college campuses, Starbucks appears to be marketing to students: Starbucks has teamed up with Apple to offer iTunes promotions to customers.

While Starbucks’ location may attract more students to the area near the library, some do not believe coffee is the reason they go.

“If I have a midterm, I go to the library. If I want a coffee, I go to Starbucks,” journalism graduate student Rashida Bartley said. “One has nothing to do with the other. Starbucks just happens to be next to the library.”

Regardless, most students agree the location is a nice perk.

“It’s kind of like a placebo,” said freshman Laura Blancato. “It makes me feel like I will study better if I have coffee. It’s also a refreshing break.”

Lilliam Albizu-Campos and Rita Zeidan contributed to this article.

Brittnay Starks may be contacted at and Daniela Dello Joio may be contacted at

Starbucks trivia

 Starbucks is named after the first mate in Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick.”
 Founded in 1971 in Seattle’s Pike Place Market
 Original name of the company was Starbucks Coffee, Tea and Spices, later changed to Starbucks Coffee Company.
 Starbucks has stores in 41 countries outside of the United States.
 Starbucks has a goal of opening six stores a day

– By Karyn Meshbane

Library patronage

 13,323 students visited the library before Starbucks opened there in 2002.
 The number nearly doubled to 24,640 in 2004 following the library’s remodeling and the placement of Starbucks adjacent to the building.
 Library patronage rose to 28,261 students in 2006.

Library patronage is measured every two years.

– By Lilliam Albizu-Campos and Rita Zeidan

November 19, 2007


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