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Library Rodent Sighting Rattles Student

On the evening of Sunday 14 January, at approximately 11 pm, a rat was discovered scurrying around the Main Library cafe. 


The North Street library, built in 1976 and renovated extensively between 2011-2012, is a fast-paced hub, often at its full capacity of 1500 people. It operates spaces across four floors, in which students and staff can study and socialise, including the cafe that offers well-received, student-friendly priced coffee and meal deals. 


Formally known as “Franki’s Cafe”, the area is staffed between 8 am and 4:30 pm exclusively on weekdays. Outside of those hours, the cafe area remains available to members of the community to use as an open space with the option to purchase drinks and snacks from the self-checkout till. 


Caragh Shaw, a fourth-year History student, was walking past the library when she noticed a rat moving around the cafe floor through the window. As the term was not yet in session and the library had closed early at 10:30 pm, no one was in the library to be notified. 


Shaw, after her initial shock, shared a comical reaction to her Instagram, labelling the rat as a “new protein option added to the lib meal deal.” Shaw additionally created a Ratatouille meme about the incident, photoshopping a cartoon chef's hat onto the rat’s head as it scanned for food crumbs.


The following morning at 11 am, Shaw reported and emailed her footage to staff who voiced that they had been completely unaware of the issue and that the situation would be taken seriously. 


Whilst Shaw feels indifferent to the matter and considers it a rather rare and humorous occurrence, she does wonder why the cafe was not closed off immediately after the report was made. Moreover, Shaw is now more sceptical of purchasing food there and especially “wouldn't touch the open and exposed fruit bowls.” 


A spokesperson for the University commented on the incident, stating, “A high standard of cleanliness is maintained in the library café area with strict adherence to Health and Safety Policy at all times.” The statement also made clear that “as soon as they were made aware of the report, our Estates team initiated pest control measures and a specialist company has visited the site to offer further advice and monitor the situation.”


More information surrounding health and safety precautions taken by the University can be found by visiting the Environmental Health and Safety Service website.


Image by Caragh Shaw


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