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Students at the 2023 Cookie Day

Cookie Day: ILR’s Sweetest Tradition

Cookies spark joy, and today, the most comprehensive resource in North America on labor and employment is sparking joy for students, faculty and staff.

George Boyer is one of many who never misses the Catherwood Library Cookie Day, which includes a book giveaway.

“I always go to Cookie Day.  I go mainly for the books, although I never turn down a free cookie or two. They definitely make people jolly.  Everyone loves cookies,” said Boyer, the Martin P. Catherwood Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations.

George Boyer at 2023 Cookie Day
Professor George Boyer

“And, I think anything that gets students into the library is good. They can look at the display cases, meet our great library staff, and even pick up a book that might change their lives, if they are very lucky,” he said. 

Back to the cookies, from Ithaca Bakery, by the way.

“The macaroons are great, as are the ginger cookies.  And the oatmeal raisin, if they have them,” Boyer said. “Unlike most people, I am not a big fan of chocolate chip.” 

Professor Ileen DeVault is a fan of the chocolate chip.“But, they'll probably all be gone by the time I get there today, in which case I'll take a sugar cookie or snickerdoodle.”

Just one cookie? Such restraint. A staffer who insisted on anonymity admitted to taking at least three cookies each year and eating them behind her closed office door, lest colleagues spot her greed.

Vegan and gluten-free cookies are also part of the party, which traces its roots to September 2000, when Catherwood Librarian Boodie McGinnis brought in trays of cookies as a treat for the ILR community. 

Library staff meeting records report resounding success: “The first annual Catherwood Cookie Day was a smashing success. Over 1,500 cookies were eagerly consumed by our starving students. At certain times (the changing of classes), it was as if the gate at Hoover Dam just opened and students surged forward in search of cookie and sundry comestibles.'"

In Cookie Day’s infancy, enjoying the baked rounds within the library premises marked a significant departure; library policy forbade any form of food consumption in Catherwood. Only after repeated assurances from library staffers did students indulge. 

In 2008, books gleaned from the Catherwood shelves to make way for the many new titles shipped in each year and from professors’ bursting shelves were added to the event. 

“What,” Boyer asks, “can be better than books and “cooks”?


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