Editorial Board

Syracuse University should consider extended library hours on trial basis


As an institution working to build a stronger academic reputation, Syracuse University should consider a pilot program to determine whether or not campus library hours should be extended.

Boston College, an SU peer institution, recently rolled out a trial program that allows the first floor of its primary campus library to remain open all night on Fridays and Saturdays to make for a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week operation. The three-weekend initiative will gauge student demand for the extended hours to be taken into consideration for the 2016-17 academic year, according to The Heights, the independent student newspaper of Boston College.

Meanwhile, SU’s Bird Library closes at 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays to open at 10 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday mornings, despite a 24-hour weekday schedule. And while 10 p.m. is arguably too early to shut down an entire student resource facility, the implementation of a trial program to measure afterhours use of the library should be evaluated.

Some students may not have access to a productive space in which they are able to concentrate in their current living situation. By limiting library services and staffing during weekend hours, which Bird Library does already, to provide a workspace for students during the pilot period, SU could make an informed decision by gathering data on the feasibility of extending hours.

Based on this information, if the university were to find that keeping the library open 24-hours a day on the weekends would not be financially sound, SU could move forward with finding a middle ground to consider extending hours accordingly or opting to open earlier. And because limited hours for university services and facilities, including dining halls, are not an unpopular grievance at SU, the assessment of library hours could pose as progress for what could be transformative changes for student life.

It’s easy to say that operational costs may outweigh demand. But rather then maintaining a guessing game, SU should move forward to effectively collect data to rule out all assumptions and provide a definite variable for student interest.


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