Farewell, Popcorn Day!

Not for good of course! Just over the course of the summer. Thanks to everyone who came out for our final Popcorn Day yesterday. Just like last year, Popcorn Day will be on hiatus until school starts back up again in August. Typically, there are 3 main reasons we take a break during the summer:

1. Taking a break gives us plenty of time to replenish our supplies for the year

We go through a whole lot of Popcorn over the course of the year. A typical Popcorn Day  requires us to make six prepackaged bags of magic (consisting of popcorn, oil, and tasty butter seasoning),  and special events throughout the year may require us to pop more. Not including the holiday break and summer, there are about 40-42 weeks of Popcorn Days; that’s a minimum of 252 bags! During this summer break, we can make sure our supplies are restocked and ready to go for another busy year.

2. During the summer, the COM population tends to fluctuate a lot

Summer is the ideal time for faculty and staff with kids to take vacations or some time off to spend with their loved ones. Combined with the fact that the majority of the medical students are away from the college during this time, week to week it’s difficult to gauge just how many people will be around on any given Thursday. Rather than guess high and end up with way too much popped popcorn and no one to share it with (or guess low and have to turn far too many of our friends away), it’s much easier to put it on hold until there are stable numbers inside the COM. Believe it or not, the difference between 2 or 3 popped bags of popcorn and 4 popped bags of popcorn is surprisingly a lot – by the time you get into higher numbers, the machine is thoroughly warmed up and successfully popping a lot more kernels than it did during bag 1 or 2.

3. The machine needs a nice break

You may remember this image arriving in your inbox.

You may remember this image arriving in your inbox.

Popcorn Day became a thing in Fall of 2011, when we thought it would be a neat way to bring patrons into the library; it debuted during the M1 Orientation Fair that August. Fast forward to a Thursday afternoon in May of  Spring 2012 where we couldn’t get the machine to pop any popcorn at all. The heating unit for the kettle wouldn’t do its job anymore – whether it was a defective kettle or heavy use, we were out of a machine. Maintenance and upkeep of a machine like this is important, especially if its something that doesn’t just have occasional use (something we had to come to terms with as we scrambled to see if we could order another kettle or had to purchase a whole new machine). While we’re prepared now to handle another burnt-out kettle, we don’t want to accelerate the process by over-working the current one. This two month break during the summer lets the machine have a well deserved rest, allows us time to service anything that may need work, and make sure its in tip-top shape for future popcorn days.

Popcorn Day will officially return Thursday, August 14th. Until then, please feel free to swing by the library to say “Hi” on Thursdays anyway – we’d love to see you! Thanks for your continued support of the library and all we do – it really is our pleasure to be your Health Sciences Library. Generating smiles is an important part of health and wellness, too, you know!