Audrey’s Café hosted its grand opening on May 3. The cafe, located in the East Wing of the library’s second floor, is part of the Geisel Library Revitalization Initiative, a campaign set to renovate and enhance the interior public spaces of the library for students and staff.
According to the library’s website, Audrey’s Café will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. between Monday and Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. For finals week, the cafe will stay open until midnight between Sunday and Thursday.
University Librarian Brian E. C. Schottlaender explained to the UCSD Guardian how the addition of Audrey’s Café reflects Geisel Library’s efforts to expand its services to student needs other than studying and research.
“Twenty years ago, students visited the library primarily to study,” Schottlaender said. “Now, there are an increasing number of activities that might draw a student to the library, [such as] working on a project in the Digital Media Lab, or attending a class taught by one of our librarians … Now, you will be able to take a coffee break at Audrey’s without leaving the building.”
Audrey’s Café manager Sabrina Creen disclosed the Guardian what kinds of foods and drinks the cafe will sell, as well as what environment they are aiming to create.
“Primarily delicious coffee, though we also have a wonderful assortment of pastries,” Creen said. “We have bottled drinks, salads and sandwiches. [I believe] that Audrey’s provides a really friendly atmosphere where people can come to relax and get away from it all.”
UCSD Sports Facilities, which also manages the Peet’s Coffee & Tea near RIMAC, will manage Audrey’s Café. Director of Sports Facilities Don Chadwick described to the Guardian what the Sport Facilities’ involvement is with the cafe.
“Sports Facilities will be directly managing the day-to-day operations of the Café,” Chadwick said. “The Café manager and student staff are a part of the Sports Facilities concessions team. Our cafe manager will also oversee the ordering of products, the supervision of the staff, and the maintenance of the various pieces of food service equipment.”
Audrey Geisel, whom the cafe is named after, made a $3 million donation in July 2015 which helped set the groundwork for construction of the cafe, as well as future enhancements scheduled for the next several years.
UCSD’s Director of Development Julie Sully told the Guardian about how the Geisel Library Revitalization Initiative will help improve other parts of the library.
“In addition to [Audrey’s] Café, this major renovation will include an impressive lobby entrance, a new Research Commons, a significant upgrade to the existing Learning Commons, and the implementation of new technologies,” Sully told the Guardian. “The fundraising initiative will also support a significant transformation of the active learning first floor that includes a cutting-edge Media & Digital Scholarship Lab. The initiative also includes plans to renovate the eighth floor of Geisel Library; we envision this remarkable floor as an enhanced study lounge that can also be used for special events and cultural activities.”
Creen hopes Audrey’s Café will help morale at Geisel Library by providing a space within the library to relax.
“[Audrey’s] creates a warm and welcoming atmosphere where if people can’t leave to go home, they can come here,” Creen said. “It gives them a chance to reboot, revitalize, get a great cup of coffee at a friendly price, and just have a wonderful experience. [Audrey’s] gives them that center and reset that they need to continue being successful.”