Late-night libraries

As is apparent from the vigorous typing and printing in the campus’ computer labs, finals week is now at hand. In a rush to make up for time wasted during the semester when they should have been doing homework, students have been noticeably vigorous and a little restless as they finish fall semester before an all-too-short Christmas break.
Amid the many multi-million dollar construction projects approved or pending approval by the Board of Regents, one proposal that would benefit students most significantly appears to be missing: opening the libraries — particularly Wilson — 24 hours a day, at least during finals.
The cost of such a plan would be meager compared to the numerous and intangible benefits it would offer students. At Wilson Library, for example, the University would only need to pay the salaries of a few more employees. One or two security personnel and a couple of attendants is all that would be required to maintain the library’s safety and operation during the seven extra hours it would be open on most nights.
The students, however, would have more time to use the resources Wilson — and Walter, when it reopens — provides. As many journals and books cannot be removed from the building, additional time to view required readings would greatly aid students with tight deadlines to meet. The so-called “all-nighter” is much easier to accomplish when so many resources are at one’s disposal in a well-lit and quiet study space.
In addition, there are few locations on campus where students may find a quiet corner to read and study at 4 a.m. Admittedly, few students — except during finals and midterms — are awake doing homework in the early hours of the morning. But it is not wasted money to guarantee that when a student is forced — perhaps by his or her own lackadaisical nature — to remain awake all night finishing a paper, a library’s resources are available for the student’s use.
Though opening Wilson to students 24 hours per day, seven days per week may be impossible, there is no reason it should not be open additional hours during finals week. That might be one way to reduce the incredible stress students are likely dealing with as they frantically throw research papers together without pausing to sleep.