Florida Atlantic University’s Student Government has spent nearly 12 months working to expand the library’s hours of operations.
With the library currently shutting its doors at 2 a.m. every Sunday through Thursday, Student Body President Kathryn Edmunds confirms that the change is likely to take place before the end of the Fall semester in 2016.
“It’s not 24/7, but it’s 24/5 so we are excited for it,” Edmunds said. “Once they finalize budget and funding, we’re set to go.”
The funding of such a dramatic expansion in operational hours is a hurdle that FAU library’s Renata Johnson, who supervises nighttime operations, finds unnecessary.
“Now you’re gonna pay to have another staff here. You’re going to have to have the police come through a little more often just to provide a security presence,” Johnson said. “And for what? Five people?”
Johnson offers that students who would like to have access an appropriate studying environment at odd hours of the night should visit the Hillel Center, or Jewish Center, adjacent to the library.
“We have the Hillel Center. That’s 24/7 and it has a computer lab,” Johnson said. “Even when campus is closed, it’s still open because we have international students here who don’t leave.”
Tiffany Follin, who earned her Master’s degree in Library Sciences, thinks extending the library’s availability to students is a great idea.
“There are some students who like studying in the library because there is staff on hand,” Follin said. “They don’t like that about the Hillel Center, that there is nobody monitoring the place.”
Both Follin and Johnson estimate that three or four more people may need to be hired for the library to keep up with the greater workload.
The budget for this transition is unclear as administration is still in the process of deciding where to get the funding, but Edmunds assures that this funding won’t come from another fee to the student body.
“I don’t know the exact accounts. It’s not coming out of ANS fees though, which we’re really excited for,” Edmunds said. “Student fees will be stuck for students.”
While the proposed alterations create five consecutive 24-hour periods of open library doors, the current hours of operation command a closing time of 6 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and these days may not be affected by the change.
Nicole Lynch, who is in her fifth year at FAU, doesn’t think this expansion goes far enough, as she prefers to do most of her studying on weekends.
“I think that’s good,” Lynch said. “I think it’s more important that they keep it open later on weekends though.”
Johnson has worked in libraries for over 28 years and reveals that the day-to-day operations of the facility are not as simple as many may believe.
“It’s not just checking in and out books. The books have to get on the shelf, they have to be maintained, there’s collection development, there’s technical services, reference, of course,” Johnson said. “There are so many aspects of a library that people don’t realize.”
With all of her experience, Johnson knows quite a bit about the popularity of the library at the late hours of the night, which is why this proposal has her perplexed as to why it is under serious consideration.
“It’s kind of interesting because the numbers aren’t there,” Johnson said. “It’s making a request without really doing your research and your homework. You just want something to want it, but you don’t utilize it.
Despite mild resistance from some, it appears that these plans will continue forward. With Student Body President Kathryn Edmunds leaving her position in early May, the extension of weekday library hours to a 24-hour cycle will be one of her noteworthy achievements.
“It took us almost a full 12 months, so I’m excited that they’ve told us, ‘Yes, it’s a go’.”
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