After meeting with the Student Government Association this week, Christopher Shaffer, dean of libraries, said that he will work on extending the current library hours by the fall semester.
Shaffer said the new times would be until 1 a.m. from Sunday to Wednesday and until 2 a.m. the two weeks during finals. Whether students use the library during those hours will determine future hours of operations.
At the meeting, Shaffer pointed out that keeping the multistory library open 24/7, as many students wish, is a problem of expensive labor management. He said it would require hiring security guards and multiple part-time employees to work different nights. Shaffer questioned whether the library is the best place to keep open for students if they need it only as a place to study.
“Do students need the resources that are in the library, or do they need a place to go?” Shaffer said. “Because if it’s simply a place to go, is there a better option that is more easily secured that is not so difficult to keep up with?”
The SGA executive team said that the students rely on the library as a quiet space where nothing, including fellow students, will interfere with their studies, since the few other study areas open to students at late hours, like the New Residence Hall’s study room, lack an academic atmosphere and tend to get noisy.
Shaffer said that if attendance during late hours shows that “the library is the best place for that (studying), we need to figure out how to do it.”
SGA’s team also proposed to keep the library open 24/7 during final exams, but that would require, as Shaffer mentioned, keeping other students at work.
“So while you’re saying we need to let students come in and cram, you’re keeping these people (student workers) from getting a good night’s sleep so they can do well on their exams.”
Shaffer also mentioned the progress already made in the library, such as the addition of 30 computers, additional study space, charging stations and improved catalogs.
He also mentioned that attendance at the library has gone up by more than 40,000. An estimated 230,000 visits were made to the library in 2015, while only 187,000 visits were made in 2014.
The library is working on the completion of an innovation lab in room 307, which will provide more group study space with four interactive work stations where students can work on group projects.
To answer the need for more private study space, the library is purchasing wired cubicles for individual study.
Since both Einstein Bros. Bagels and Starbucks close early, students feel the need for a coffee machine in the library. According to Shaffer, that need will be partially answered in the fall with a coffee vending machine.