Libraries should extend their hours

You have been sitting in the library for four hours studying for an organic chemistry test and you’re finally in the zone. Suddenly, the lights blink on and off while a voice announces, “The library will be closing in five minutes.”

You can’t go back to your room because your neighbors are throwing a party and music is blasting, Starbucks on campus has been closed since 11 p.m., and driving anywhere is pointless because all your study spots are closed.

Why is it so hard to find a quiet place to concentrate? Wouldn’t it be great if there were a 24-hour library on campus? We think so.

Many universities across the country have their libraries open 24 hours throughout most of the week, including some small schools with student populations comparable to that of UM (around 10,000) like Vanderbilt, Tulane, Emory, Syracuse and the College of William and Mary, just to name a few. At UM, the Otto G. Richter Library is only open 24 hours during finals week. The rest of the semester, the library is open until 2 a.m. from Sunday through Thursday and until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

But students should have the option to study in a library without any time constraints. And, according to a Facebook poll by The Miami Hurricane, students agree. When asked whether they would take advantage of a 24-hour library at UM, 66 students of 96 respondents said yes.

With the heavy workload UM students have, a 24-hour study spot would benefit the campus community. At Richter, there are resources available for students studying for a test, researching for a paper and rooms for study groups to meet. For these reasons, it just makes sense for there to be at least one 24-hour library on campus.

We acknowledge that, in order for this to happen, additional staff would need to be hired to make up for the extra hours the library would utilize – but we think this initiative is worth the cost. Current library attendants also could create a rotating schedule for the night shifts. Universities that have actualized this allocate a section of the library to be open for 24-hours, and close the rest of the building. UM could do something similar by keeping only the first two floors of Richter open for use at all times.

Also, operation hours don’t have to include the weekends. Many universities that have a 24-hour library stay open through the night Sunday through Thursday, but close earlier Fridays and Saturdays.

Having a 24-hour library on UM’s campus would undoubtedly be the next step toward optimizing student success in the classroom.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.

February 26, 2012


The Miami Hurricane

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