24/7 library hours shelved weeks before finals


Quentin Blais

The Lincoln Park John T. Richardson Library will no longer be open 24 hours a day during finals week.

Gone are the days of 24/7 library hours during finals week. 

Kevin Holechko, Student Government Association (SGA) president and senior, at their general body meeting on Feb. 9 announced the library will be open for regular hours during finals week effective immediately. The Winter quarter finals will be affected by the change. 

The library administration made the decision based on staff shortages and low student engagement rates past 1 a.m. during finals week. 

“This will not in any way impact the services [that] the library offers,” Holechko said. “They are still going to have all of their personnel dayside when they see the maximum amount of usage. The only downside is now we won’t have the safety net of that thought in the back of your head where, even if it’s midnight, you can still stay another two hours or so to finish your homework.”

Although the library originally hoped to implement the changes for Spring quarter, the lack of staff members who would be available during the extended hours to support students caused them to move up their plans. Holechko stated that even if the library was given the funding to hire sufficient staff now, continuing 24/7 library hours would still be impossible due to the time it would take for the hiring process and to train new hires. 

“The library has been looking at ending this for a very long time,” Holechko said. “They’re not doing this just to do it, there are very logical and special circumstances that are accelerating this plan.”

Simply extending the hours past the regular schedule was dismissed as an unsafe alternative. Library administration argued that closing at midnight on weekdays as usual would be safer than extending hours to the middle of the night and making students leave at a later, and potentially more dangerous, hour. 

The SGA cabinet voiced a concern that the library’s changing hours could impact students using the building as a place to shelter, especially during the winter months, rather than as a study space. Library administration is aware of this concern but was unable to get any definite data to support the claim.

“It’s something that I’m still going to be talking to the school about because in the event there are students using [the library] as a place to stay for the night when it’s available, I want to know what we’re going to do to address that,” Holechko said.

There is currently no alternate plan for later library hours or utilizing another building on campus for 24/7 access. For now, the library will maintain regular hours through the rest of the academic year. 

“If this is something the school does want to look into, I’d be all for it,” Holechko said. “This has always been an area people knew they could go to and now that’s being taken away. I would challenge the school to be on the lookout for that safe space.”