By the end of October, the library will close at 1am instead of 11pm, Sunday through Thursday.
This increase of 11 hours per week will cost 93,000 dollars for the entire year. That money will go to pay the 3 or 4 people who monitor the library late at night.
“The reason why we’re not doing this now—Saturday hours have already changed—but we’re really waiting to put a card reader at the front of the door,” the Dean of the Library, Steve Rollins Dean, said.
“We feel that it’s pretty important to do that to give students a more secure environment over ten o’clock. We’re opened over 100 hours now, and we’re always dealing with some sort of security issue.”
Rollins noted that because of the long hours, homeless people tend to frequent the library. He recalls incidents of fighting, people throwing up, or—during the 24/7 period during finals—living in the building. Students will need a valid Wolfcard to enter the building after 10pm.
“We think of it as an after hours study facility. The library is the library—we will have people to check out books for those who want them and we will have computer available, but we’re not going to staff the reference desk until 1am,” Rollins said.
In his 13 years at UAA, Rollins said that whenever students want expanded hours, it often happens.
“I have to say, the last 2 years that interest in more hours has increased a quite a bit. The demand on this facility has not declined at all,” Rollins said.
Several student groups have pushed for more hours.
USUAA Vice-President Amie Stanley and Allison Murrell, a former USUAA senator, raised 4 thousand dollars during the spring semester of last year for a trial run of keeping the library 24 hours for nine days.
The graduate student association and the library distributed their own surveys.
“We got those comments from all the surveys. People want more hours,” Rollins said.
The original building was built in 1973. That building was 80,000 square feet and had approximately 5,000 weekly visitors.
The 2004 addition added 120,000 square feet, making the total surface area of the library roughly 200,000 square feet. The weekly visitors have since doubled to about 10,500 visitors, Rollins said.
An extra entrance
The library was designed with a second entrance in mind.
“I figured that after a few years, we’d probably have the chance to build it. Well, that hasn’t happened yet,” Rollins said.
Rollins worked the 2 to 7am shift during finals. A staff member walked around the library and recorded what students were doing. When it was Rollins turn, he found that most people were studying, which lead him to believe that an extra study space was needed.
“There is enough space (in the north entrance) that we could easily put a study lounge there. During finals, we only had about 70 students studying at 3am. But that’s still a sizeable group. We could build out in the north entrance to accommodate those 75 people after hours,” Rollins said.
“There’s a lot of demand from people who want to come through that side of the building. The science building is now there, a new parking garage, a new café, they moved the English department to the ADM building—a lot of people want to come through the north entrance,” Rollins said.
Rollins is currently working on gaining funding for the extension.