In addition to Brew ‘n Gold Cafe, Jay Capron also overseas Eliza’s, the cafe located on the 4th floor of the downtown library at WVU.  The cafe is a relatively new addition to the library, as it was opened just 6 1/2 years ago in February of 2006.   Food, drink, in the library, you say?? Why, yes!  The library’s food and drink policy states that food must be kept in the glass doors of Eliza’s, and drinks may be taken out of the cafe, but must have a lid on it. This is good news for students, especially during dead week and finals week when some students will spend upwards of 8-12 hours in the library, all day. It is pretty convenient to not have to pack up and move to another location in order to get some hydration and sustenance!  Originally, the librarians were concerned that the addition of Eliza’s to the library would cause need for an additional janitor to clean up all the mess that students would cause in the stacks area, but fortunately this hasn’t been a problem.  Students appear to be very respectful of the books in the library and have been careful not to spill crumbs or coffee over pages and in between bookcases.

Eliza’s during lunch hours

Eliza’s offers a variety of beverages for students — Starbucks coffee (!) and Coke products, as WVU has a contract with Coca-Cola. The beverages include, but are not limited to:

  • Soda
  • Energy drinks
  • Coffee
  • Hot tea
  • Iced tea
  • Fruit juices
  • Milk
  • Smoothies
  • Vitamin Water

Eliza’s also receives food, beverage, and ice deliveries two times a day in order to keep up with the student demand. There isn’t a ton of storage space at Eliza’s so deliveries have to be quite frequent. I was there for the 8:00am delivery truck, and we received milk, Panera bagels, wraps, sandwiches, and decadent-looking cinnamon rolls.  There are also salads, hummus, fresh veggies, granola bars, cheese & crackers, chips, and cookies available for purchase.

Muffins, cinnamon rolls, and Panera bagels for students to purchase

There is a push for nutrition fact labels to be placed on all the items at Brew ‘n Gold and Eliza’s. However, there are over 75 items in rotation at Brew ‘n Gold alone, so this would be quite a project to undertake. Not to mention, WVU receives its food from different suppliers each month, as food is ordered by a monthly bidding system.  That means that the turkey used to make the turkey and lettuce wrap in March may have 480 mg of sodium (from company A), but in April the turkey in the sandwich may have 550 mg of sodium (from company B) simply because we change up suppliers so often.  In addition, the wraps and sandwiches are made by different workers each time, so although consistency is encouraged, it is not guaranteed. One employee’s idea of a handful of spinach in a sandwich may be different from another employee’s handful of spinach. So because of those two factors, the nutrition facts labels should be used as more of a ballpark estimate.  Currently, there is a QR code on each item (seen below) that when scanned with a smart phone, should lead to ingredient lists and nutrition information for that item. Pretty neat use of technology!

Wraps, sandwiches, salads, hummus, fresh veggies, and more

Prices range from less than a dollar for an iced tea, to over $5.00 if you want a large drink, sandwich, and sides.  However, the average purchase per student is $3.50.

Hmmm…what to get…

During the school year Eliza’s is open on Sundays from 3pm – midnight, Mondays-Wednesdays 8am-midnight, Thursdays 8am-9pm, and Fridays 8am-2pm. Students are typically staying up ’til midnight studying on Sundays- Wednesdays, as most exams are scheduled for Mondays-Thursdays.  Also, a lot of students are relaxing or go home on the weekends (Fridays, Saturdays) so the hours of operation make sense to me.

Workers at Eliza’s (also brews Starbucks coffee)

Curious as to who this “Eliza” is?  Eliza J. Skinner was actually the WVU library director from 1897-1902, and went on to have a 33 year career at the Library of Congress.  Check out her story here.

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