Extend library hours during finals week

The last week of fall semester is quickly approaching, and with it comes a seemingly annual entreaty for the University to provide longer hours for the libraries during finals week.

Currently, Walter and Wilson libraries are open until midnight during the week, but the academic demands of students do not end after midnight. Magrath Library does have an extended study area, but because of its location on the St. Paul campus, it is definitely more convenient for the resident cows than it is for students living in Dinkytown.

Only a few amenities are actually necessary: a quiet study space, late or overnight hours, access to the general library offerings and computer availability. Although we are in an urban setting, and one would expect to find several coffee shops or restaurants within walking distance of campus, the options are rather limited. Even the old option, Perkins, has eliminated many 24-hour locations. There is, of course, Hard Times and the Perkins on the West Bank, but neither offers the most comfortable environment for many students. Besides, there are other amenities the libraries offer that are unavailable in restaurants, such as high-speed internet access, and most importantly, all of the reference materials in the library.

Ideally, one University library should be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week throughout the school year. Admittedly, this would be quite expensive, and it is unlikely that anyone other than a few overworked researchers or graduate students would have any use for it. However, some targeted increases in library accessibility would be significantly easier.

The most important times for students are obviously during finals week and also the week before. It does not seem like an unrealistic request that a single library, such as Wilson Library or Walter Library, remain open all night for that week or two. If the University is unwilling to make that arrangement because of some reasonable argument, then the administration should consider keeping Walter Library or Wilson Library open until 3 a.m., or at least until 2 a.m. This would only require library staff stay an extra few hours for a few days, instead of staffing an entirely new shift that some employees might be reluctant to take.

These suggestions are simple solutions to a persistent problem for many students. Extending the hours for the libraries would be a cost effective way to improve the scholastic environment. Perhaps by this time next semester, the administration will have progressed on this issue.