BYU's Library Cafe: New Mini-Restaurants in the HBLL
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The Y Report

Study Snacks

Long gone are the days of no food in the library.

Library Cafe employees prepare food for students at one of its mini-restaurants.
Students can now grab some brain food during study breaks at the new Library Cafe. Photo by Bradley Slade.

Last fall the Harold B. Lee Library served up its newest addition: the Library Cafe, the latest step in a quest to help hungry students hankering for a brain break.

“Students are spending longer and longer in the library,” says Roger L. Layton (BA ’87, MA ’95), the library’s public relations and communications manager. “We were concerned about seeing that they had some sort of food option.”

The HBLL welcomes about 3 million patrons a year, Layton says. In 2023 the Princeton Review, which tracks how happy students are with their university’s offerings, named it the No. 1 library in the country.

The new third-floor Library Cafe closes at 11 p.m., making it the only on-campus dining location open so late. Inside it boasts two mini-restaurants: Provecho serves tacos, rice bowls, and tostadas, while the Bagel Bubble offers a variety of bagels, bagel sandwiches, and milk-based boba drinks. There’s also a self-checkout kiosk for other snacks and refrigerated items.

This is quite the change for a library that, from its dedication in 1962, didn’t permit food or drink. In 2010 the HBLL designated parts of the third floor as a snack zone. Now the Library Cafe serves food nearly around the clock.

To avoid lingering cooking smells, explains Dining Services Retail Operations director Joseph L. Tiapson (BGS ’19), “no food is cooked on site.” Instead, Dining Services staff prepare the food in the Wilkinson Student Center and then cart it to the library “throughout the day in small batches to keep the food fresh.”

Layton believes the new cafe helps patrons make the most of their library experience. “Students are pretty good about [respecting food rules]. . . . We’re optimistic it’ll be a positive thing.”