Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mary Jane's Café celebrates opening

By Courtney Westlake

Coffee, ice cream and other treats were passed around as the campus community celebrated the official ribbon-cutting for Mary Jane’s Café, the Brookens Library coffee shop, on Tuesday afternoon, April 29.

"This is a dream that has been a long-time coming, and I'm so glad to have all of you here today," said Jane Treadwell, university librarian and dean of Library Instructional Services at UIS.

Mary Jane’s is named after Mary Jane MacDonald, the first librarian hired at Sangamon State University. The space for the café had previously been called the MacDonald Lounge to honor MacDonald. MacDonald was on hand to participate in the ribbon-cutting on Tuesday, and Treadwell commended her for her work and dedication at the library.

Located on the first level of Brookens, the café features pastries and light lunch items as well as coffee, espresso and other gourmet beverages. Bevande Coffee out of Bloomington, which serves shade-grown coffee roasted in Seattle, has been chosen as the operator for Mary Jane’s.

"I remember when we started talking about this, to create a 'let's get back in the library, Barnes & Noble' kind of place right here on our own campus, and now we can all see it," said UIS Chancellor Richard Ringeisen. "You have to dream to have a dream come true, and the library certainly dreamed this."

In the strategic plan for UIS, education, research and study are greatly emphasized, and Mary Jane's falls into place with the plan, Treadwell said.

"What we were lacking on this campus was what is called 'third spaces', some really nice community gathering spaces, and here at Mary Jane's Café, we now have such a space," Treadwell said. "We had put the idea of a café in our short-term goals of the library's strategic plan. Dreams usually don't come through without money though; our chancellor made the funds available for us to have this cafe."

Bevande co-owner Tyler Buckley said the company is thrilled to be on campus and has found UIS to be an open and friendly environment.

"We're just excited to be here, we hope to live up to the expectations that Mary Jane's Café has been asked to do, and we hope to be here for a long time," he said.