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Thursday, Mar 23, 2023

24/7 Lib Here to Stay... for Now

Davis Family Library will remain open for 24 hours each day of finals week, according to Michael Roy, the dean of the library. Roy reached this decision after considering student survey data and deliberating with administrators and members of the Student Government Association. 

Roy does want to limit the library’s open hours during finals week next fall, by which time the library staff will have had time to plan for the switch. 

“Upon reviewing the recent data from the student survey, I've decided to keep 24/7 for this spring,” Roy said. “I believe that we should try staying open until 2 a.m. this fall. This gives us time to (a) figure out how to staff the library until 2 a.m. and (b) to communicate this to students so that they can plan accordingly.”

Roy is concerned that keeping the library open for 24 hours will encourage students to skip out on sleep. 

“I worry that staying open 24/7 sends the wrong message about sleep,” Roy said. “There is a great deal of evidence that staying up all night is very bad for your health. And as someone who at times did stay up very late in college, it is clear to me now that the quality of work produced at 4 a.m. is much lower than work produced when not sleep deprived. I hope we can also take this into consideration this fall.”

Using the results of the survey that the SGA sent to students on April 19, SGA president Jin Sohn recommended that the library stay open until 2 a.m. and re-open at 7 a.m. during finals week in an email to Roy and dean of students Baishakhi Taylor earlier this week. But after Roy decided to keep the library open for 24 hours, Sohn said she was pleased with Roy’s final decision.

“I’m glad to hear that the 24/7 hours will be kept, seeing that many students still wanted it!”, she said. 

51.5 percent of student respondents answered “no” and 48.5 percent of respondents answered “yes” to the question, “should the library be open 24/7 for this upcoming spring finals week?” 60.2 percent of respondents said that they had used the library during its 24/7 hours during finals week in the fall. 

While a large number of students reported using the library’s from 12-3 a.m., far fewer students reported using the library from 3-7 a.m. Sohn’s recommendation reflected the idea that keeping the library open all night might be unnecessary when students are largely using the facilities only an hour or two after the regular 1 a.m. closing time. 

Sohn cited “financial constraints” as reasoning behind the library staff considering not to remain open 24 hours each day when she sent the survey to students in April. The library collected its own data earlier in the year and noticed similar findings. A small number of students reported using the library between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m.

According to Sohn, Axinn may also remain open for 24 hours each night during finals week. 

“The SGA is also currently working to have Axinn open 24/7 with key card access for finals week,” Sohn wrote. “Axinn provides students access to Mac computers, classroom space, and printer access. We shouldn’t rely solely on Axinn to be a substitute for students but it may help to relieve pressure on the library.”

The doors of Axinn currently lock at 11 p.m., but students already in the building may remain there past this time.

Many respondents brought up additional concerns regarding the library’s operations during finals week, including whether Wilson Cafe would remain open 24/7 and whether there would be MCAB stressbusters or other health and wellness activities.