Petition spurs test of longer library hours

Nicholson Library extended its weekend closing time an additional three hours during the weekend of Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, keeping the doors open until 11 p.m.

The temporary hours for the library, which will remain until the end of the semester, were initiated by ASLC President Chipo Dendere. Dendere submitted a petition with about 250 student signatures to Library Director Susan Barnes Whyte and discussed the possibility of extending the hours.

The petition arose as a hot topic in the ASLC Senate this semester. Senators spoke of their constituents’ complaints about the current library hours and suggested the library stay open later on weekends.

Freshman Heather Snyder said longer hours on the weekend would be a good idea because the library offers a quiet place for her to do homework when the residence halls get too noisy.

Sophomore Lily Niland, who used the library during its extended hours Dec. 1, said she would also like to see the library open earlier on Sundays.

“I always see a line of people standing outside the door,” she said.

During the extended hours, work-study students are tracking the flow to assess whether or not students actually use the library on weekends.

“There (were) 17 (individuals) on Friday and 29 on Saturday,” Kathleen Spring, the library’s evening supervisor, said.

Spring admits traffic was slow, but she expects an increase in usage with the approach of final exams.

“I would love to have the library open 24/7,” Whyte said.

However, because of insufficient funding, as well as not having enough staff to run the library, sustaining the extended library hours every weekend next semester isn’t plausible.
“Having extended hours all year long would not be an efficient way to spend the library funds,” junior Devita Kimball, lead student reference librarian, said.

Instead, the purpose of this temporary change is to evaluate when students use the library most, such as the time slot before midterms and finals, and to extend the hours on the weekends during crucial study periods for next semester, Kimball said.

Junior Kirsten Synder supports the idea of extending hours during the middle of the year and the last few weeks of the semester, especially when finals are approaching.
“(Students) need that extra time and resources available at the library,” Synder said.

However, not all students feel extending library hours is a good thing.

“I’d much rather have the weight room open earlier,” freshman Danyelle Myers said. “I like to go running in the morning, and the weather right now makes it hard to do so.”
Those who wish to see longer hours on weekends should take advantage of this trial run, Dendere said.

“If the volume is high, it is a lot easier to ask for more hours,” Dendere said.
Whyte said she is thrilled to see students wanting to use the library more.
“It’s not my library; it’s your library,” she said.