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Any student can submit an Idea to change the Union, the University or the City of Leeds. All submitted ideas go to a forum meeting to be decided on. If the student panel can't reach a 75% consensus either way, the idea will go to a campus-wide vote to let you decide.

December 2017 Referendum

Should we allow snacks in the library?

Idea Title: Should we allow snacks in the library?


What is the idea about?

I would like snacking to be allowed at library desks provided people obey the rules on no littering.


Why have you proposed it?

Like many students, I spend hours at a time sat at a desk in the library. Sometimes I would like a snack that takes very little time to eat. Today I was shouted at for eating a banana on the wrong side of the turnstiles after going downstairs as I had been asked to do. Given the actual seriousness of the situation, the reaction I was met with by the librarian dealing with the issue was completely unwarranted and put me off the work I was there to do.

I think a clean working environment should be a top priority and this can be achieved through providing bins and signs to remind students not to litter. If litter became and issue, this right could be removed and students should be warned of that.


Considering the number of students that I see snacking in the library, I am confident that many people would be in support of allowing small snacks to keep you going during busy times.



  • Other universities looked into switching from no food at all to no hot food and the idea has been met with a positive response from students

  • Snacks are beneficial for concentration and leaving your desk to go all the way downstairs to eat a quick snack can be disruptive

  • Some students need to take medication throughout the day with food or drink or have diabetes / metabolism issues (this was raised in the meeting as an important point as some students simply feel unable to attend the library due to such issues)

  • Although there are places to eat in the libraries e.g. Café Nero – they are located on the bottom floor and you cannot actually eat your own food there

  • More lenient rules mean less conflict / harsh reactions from librarians and therefore less distraction


  • Litter > There are many bins on every floor, signs can remind students, librarians already regularly check for people eating, why not check for litter? Students should be trusted rather than punished for something that has not happened yet, many students eat in the clusters/outside grass areas and there is not a major litter issue

  • Smells/Mess > No hot/smelly/sticky foods (refer to other university policies), students can take books home/to other Cafes where food could get on the books but they are trusted to look after them

  • Noise from packets (raised as potential issue in meeting) > Potentially keep no food in silent areas, use green cards to text librarians about disruption as already in place for people talking

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