With exam season looming, there has been increasing discontent among students regarding food prices at the Bill Bryson café, which many feel to be far too expensive. This comes amid concerns over rising tuition fees and mounting student debt. A tweet recently posted by the Durham University Library account also made an only half joking reference to the sky-high costs at the café.
Sandwiches are priced between £2.25 and £3.35, while there is also the option to splash out and get a panini for £3.40 or a salad for £4.20. In comparison, Tesco is significantly cheaper and offers the infamous meal deal combination of a sandwich, drink and a snack for £3.00. As students are notoriously strapped for cash, it would make far more sense for library-goers to be able to provide their own food. However, the strict ban on food and drinks in the library, and inadequate seating often leaves students huddling together for warmth on the concrete outside.
Lisa Whiting, Durham Student Union’s Academic Affairs officer, feels that both these overpriced sandwiches and the lack of seating is unacceptable. In a statement to Palatinate, she said: “The food in the cafés is often expensive, even for basic items such as sandwiches, and there aren’t many options…It is the responsibility of the University to make sure students who are paying a lot of money to be here have the appropriate facilities.”
Thanks to her work, an extension to the seating for people eating their homemade food is currently being piloted in the Bill Bryson library.