Within thirty seconds of entering Pilkington Library, it is apparent that exam season is well underway due to the overwhelming smell of takeaways, fear, desperation and sweat. Prior to the library being open 24/7 for the exam period, this distinct smell was found in the Haslegrave which is a 24/7 study space all year round. Much to the dismay of Computer Science students who are based there, the Haslegrave is where students migrated after spending the day toiling over their dissertations or coursework only to have to relocate at 12:00am due to the fact that this is the time the Pilkington closes.
Since our library underwent a four million pound refurbishment earlier this year which saw the controversial security barriers being put in place, I can’t help but wonder whether it is time to extend the libraries 24 hour period. Currently, the current policy is that the library begins the 24/7 opening times a few days before exams start until the day of the last exam. However, for many people who do degrees that are coursework based such as English or Art based degrees, this means that they get usage of the 24/7 facilities for only a few days before their final hand in.
Of course, this is a very course specific problem since the majority of students at Loughborough do have exams. However, during the Easter holidays which were when most people were deep in dissertation mode, the university library’s opening hours were reduced so that it actually closed at 5pm.
VP Education Becky Lauder said that:
‘’I am aware of the issues surrounding the library not being open 24/7 during coursework and dissertation times, I was especially concerned about the library being open until 5pm when there is a large amount of deadlines just after the Easter break.
“I will be handing this over to Amy for work with the library team next year.
“I do think that extending the 24 hour period will not be possible due to staffing and health and safety.
“What has been excellent this year is the development and promoting of further informal spaces, and there is discussion of further developments in West Park and Central Park. These learning spaces are of course 24 hours through the year and available to all students’’.
Perhaps, whilst it is unrealistic to expect the library to be open 24/7 throughout the entire year, a possibility would be to do what other institutions such as The University of Nottingham have done and extend the 24 hour period through the summer term.
The summer term is the shortest month, but also the month where there is a lot of pressure because as soon as finalists have handed in their dissertation they also have their last few pieces of coursework to hand in alongside beginning revision. This does not even take into account the other undergraduates and Post graduates who also have deadlines and exams to work towards.
Hopefully, next year’s VP: Education Amy Ward and the university will work to find a way to accommodate more students who require 24/7 study spaces. This will be a welcome relief to Computer Science students who won’t find their department overrun with stressed students working frantically towards a deadline and the bins overflowing with takeway boxes. The expansion of the library has undoubtedly had a positive impact for Loughborough students. However I believe next year it is important to look at the possibility of extending the 24 hour opening times during the summer term which is the shortest but most intense time at university.