Student Voice: Library Hours Should Be Extended
It’s 9:30 p.m. on a Friday night. Although a lot of your friends are out partying, you have a big paper due on Monday so you head over to the library to work on it. After all, you came to college to study so it’s not that big of a sacrifice; once you have this finished you will be able to relax and enjoy the weekend. You reach the library doors only to realize that it’s closed for the evening.
As ridiculous as it seems, this is a common occurrence here at King’s. It’s a sad reality that at a college, where people are supposed to be studying and learning, the library would close so early, even on a Friday night. Sure, not as many people will be at the library on weekends as on weekdays, but what about those who do want to study? By closing so early and so often, the library is practically asking students to go out and party as spending a late night studying is not an option.
On weekdays, the library is open later but only until 11:00 p.m., at which time, for most college students, the night is still very young and most studying has just begun.
Studies have shown that melatonin levels in young adults rise later at night than in children and adults, causing students to stay awake late. Research by Professor Russell Foster of Brasenose College, Oxford has indicated that young adults are biologically predisposed to staying up late, which explains the abundance of late night study sessions on college campuses.
Since students begin their studying late at night, many people won’t even go to the library before it closes because they are worried that once they are on a roll with their work, they will have to leave and interrupt the flow of their studies.
I have experienced this frustration when, just as I was really getting somewhere on a paper, the lights in the library shut off, indicating that I was being forced to leave.
If studying is a priority here (as it should be), an effort should be made to ensure that resources such as the library are available to students whenever they need them. Closing the library this early is not considerate of the many students who, after classes, still have to go to work. For these students, the only available time to study is at night, and by this time the library is already shutting its doors.
Justyna Cerefin, a junior PA student, experiences this regularly. She is an active student, taking classes, working a part-time job as well as work-study, and participates in various organizations and activities such as PPAS, ERT, Campus Ministry, and Residence Life. Depending on the day of the week, Justyna won’t be done with her classes until 5:00 p.m. and then accomplishes tasks for her additional responsibilities. She says that she doesn’t usually start her homework until at least 9:00 p.m., and by then, she feels there is no point in heading over to the library because she will only be able to stay there for a short time and doesn’t want to get comfortable. And some nights, Justyna works from 3:00-11:00 p.m. off-campus, leaving her no chance to go to the library and study before it closes.
Ruthly Cadestin, a sophomore history major, is always on the go during the day and rarely finds time to start her homework before 9:00 p.m. She says that after classes from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., she goes to lunch, runs errands, and then goes to choir rehearsal. After choir and then dinner, she often has meetings to attend for the clubs in which she participates, and if the theatre is putting on a show soon, she is there helping to work on the set until midnight.
She says that her schedule is really packed and prevents her from finding time to study in the library since it often closes before she is ready to start her homework for the night.
At most colleges and universities, libraries are open very late, some even 24 hours a day.
The Penn State University Park libraries are open until 2:00 a.m. five nights a week. Wilkes University and Albright College libraries are open until midnight five nights a week and during finals week Wilkes keeps its library open until 2:00 a.m. At Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in NY, the library is open until 3:00 a.m. on weekdays and during finals week stays open 24 hours. Our library at King’s is open until 11:00 p.m. on weekdays, 9:00 p.m. on Fridays, and until 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays.
In order to encourage the studious environment which is conducive to learning and expected from a college, King’s should extend its library hours in order to accommodate the needs of its students.