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Twenty-Four Hour Library Services, Is It Time To Extend Them

June 4, 2014 · Zoe Mumba

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.

library

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.

Zoe Mumba

Zoe Mumba

Executive Features Editor
Zoe is former Executive Features Editor of The Epinal.
Zoe Mumba
Posted by on June 4, 2014. Filed under Comment.
  • Rambo

    A reasonable point, but perhaps people could just be a little more organised and do their work during the day, for a longer period of time, so that they didn’t need to make use of 24/7 facilities.

    • Mr Realpolitik

      I do agree with this comment, but unfortunately anticipating human nature – it’s unlikely this would ever become a reality. However, there are also other factors such as lecture timetables (i.e. Engineers have a full day from 9-5), so therefore having library beyond midnight would be useful. The aforementioned is an ideal solution, but practically either opening a 24/7 library or extending its closing times would be the silver bullet to this debate.

  • Mr Realpolitik

    I concur with the above, considering tuition fees have
    rocketed from £3,000-£9,000 (300%) over the past 2 years, students from all
    walks of life should have access to a 24/7 library. In addition, by having a
    24/7 library this will encourage further study (for students who are nocturnal
    and perform best during the night) and will also encourage more students to hit
    the library rather than having the option to go down the union 2-3 times on a
    weekday (which is sometimes caused by boredom and can reduce anti-social behaviour).
    Moreover, this also provides a great opportunity for additional part-time work
    on campus, where more students can study and work around flexible hours. Certainly
    gets my vote!

    • Rambo

      This demonstrates an unfortunate lack of understanding. The feels have gone up, but the amount Universities get has actually gone down.

      Further, as a student that works in the library on the PC Clinic, during most days the library is empty – so you want them to double the cost of running the library to provide more access for people that don’t want to use it? Doesn’t sound like a sensible use of your extra fees to me.

      • Mr Realpolitik

        And spending it on lavish new footpaths and fountains does?
        The fees have gone up for a number of reasons, firstly due to the increased borrowing Labour and former governments had done before our time (borrowing and living beyond its means after WW2) and as a result – the government are now (unfairly many would argue) increasing student tuition fees by 300% in order to recover the money it gave for our parents’ generation of free university fees (and also
        devolved states such as Scotland and Wales where they have access to free tuition fees). The second point, is that trade Unions (where we have regular lectures cancelled because of strikes and demonstrations) are demanding increased pay for lectures salaries and pensions (which we are contributing towards by the way). Finally, the increased in tuition fees are used to fund new buildings (such as the Sports Medical center adjacent to Powerbase, its new stadium at Holly Well and many others) to improve Lbro Value added. Therefore,
        I cannot see where the lack of understanding lies where the university gets very little (The Students Union actually owns most of the property in Loughborough,if you check its financials).

        Finally, the reason the library is quiet during non-exam
        periods and during the day is because of this very reason – you cannot get a PC, none of the books loaned are available and everyone prefers to work nocturnal (as you can see in the evenings, there is a higher turnout % during the nights). As explained, the university could also hire students or graduates which would cost less (due to minimum wage legislation) and would ultimately
        increase the use of the library due to more facilities being available and more books off loan.

        I would rather the university spends money on our education,
        well-being and investment in our education rather than building new fancy state of the art buildings which will only be knocked down or refurbished in 5 years’ time.

  • Mr Realpolitik

    Polemically, due to the lack of PC spaces at Pilkington -
    they should also ban Facebook in the library (as the amount of people I see in library
    purely hogging computers for that purpose is beyond me). I understand for those
    who wish to check the odd fb messages occasionally and message each other about
    certain coursework projects, but gone are the days before we had what’s app and
    SMS. If you’re in a library, the purpose and objective is to escape from
    outside distractions and not to be seduced by them inside. Its double standards
    – if they ban Facebook, there would be more PC spaces available, less
    overcrowding and more productivity. With new smart phone and android
    technology, anyone can access Facebook on their phone if there that eager to know
    what’s happening within their social community (although for 1-2 hours, I think
    everyone could potentially hold off until they get home). An opinion,
    nonetheless….

  • Sarah Spencer

    It isn’t unrealistic to expect the library to be open 24 hours, seven days a week. Trust me, plenty of universities’ libraries are. Loughborough simply doesn’t want to pay for the electricity bill and a security guard’s wage. Shocking, considering how the university is boasting about its position in the league tables according to the Guardian, or whatever, but are willing to hinder its students’ study purely because of expenses (that they could more than afford).

  • Sarah Spencer

    Was my comment deleted?

  • library user

    YES about time , every other uni has a 24hr library