Books & Bytes to be renovated

The popular Books & Bytes Cafe inside Milne Library will be renovated over the summer to improve customers' experience and expand upon the current menu.

According to Mark Scott, executive director of Campus Auxiliary Services, Books & Bytes ranks as "probably the second or third busiest location on campus" in terms of student traffic. He said that during peak times of use, the small counter and area result in long lines, a crowded dining room and generally "frustrating customer service."

"We are concerned about the long lines," said Ed Rivenburgh, director of the library, noting that sometimes the area gets so crowded that it is "very difficult for people to even sit."

CAS is appropriated an annual fund for summer projects and Scott said he has tried to focus the funds on one venue at a time: this summer's project will be renovating the café. He said that while the project is not huge, it will be "highly impactful and highly visible."

Renovations will begin immediately following graduation and are expected to be finished by the start of the fall semester.

The planned improvements include expanding the service counter, adding more "grab 'n go" items, increasing the size of the café and improving the available storage space. Currently, service is slowed because employees must regularly go downstairs to replenish supplies. The planned renovations are "born out of the need to improve the service," Scott said.

According to Scott, CAS plans to "keep the best of what we have to offer" and will continue serving bagel sandwiches at Books & Bytes, but will add panini sandwiches, ready-to-go prepared items, a stronger bakery selection and perhaps new coffee items to the menu. The hours of the eatery may be extended as well, possibly to midnight for part of the week.

Construction will be completed by Bergmann Associates, an engineering and architectural design firm based in Rochester. Scott said the company stood "head and shoulders above" other prospective contractors.

Employees said that considering the crowded workspace, they are excited to finally be able to work without having to trek up and down the stairs all day.

Students also stand to benefit from the improvements. "I eat lunch here a lot," said sophomore Curtis Jones. "I'm always here on the run and it would be nice to have some variety to choose from."

Scott and Rivenburgh both encourage student input. "We'd like to make [the café] one of the best places possible" to eat, Rivenburgh said. Students can direct suggestions to Scott Ziebrowsky, manager of Books & Bytes, the Campus Grind and Geneseo University Store.