SGA pushes for longer library hours


Cayla Fronfofer

In 2014, the library staff made the decision to cut back on their open hours to save jobs. Today, the Student Government Association is working with the library staff to work to extend the hours back to what they were.

“We were thrilled that the SGA was interested in the library. We thought that was a wonderful thing,” said Faculty Librarian Joe Farara.

Freshman and SGA Senator Grace Weingartner, along with SGA President Shavonna Bent, is working to keep the library open longer on week nights.

“We started by sending out a survey on the library hours, and we received 131 responses. It was overwhelmingly obvious that people wanted the library to be open a little bit later and that they use it on weekends more than we expected,” said Weingartner.

Results suggested that students see the importance of the library, and 83 of the students surveyed said that they feel the library is important or absolutely necessary as a resource on campus. To Farara, this data was extremely gratifying.

“All of the data out there shows that if students have a good relationship with the library and the librarians, then they’ll do well academically,” said Farara.

Another question from the survey asked students, “At what hours are you most likely to use the library for homework purposes?” According to the results, 87 students responded saying they would use the library between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., while 66 students said they would use the library after 10 p.m. Currently, the library closes at 10 p.m. Monday through Thursdays and is only open until 4 p.m. on Fridays.

However, this new data collected by Weingartner is not supported by the actual number of people that are in the library during late night hours.

“We are constantly taking usage data at different parts of the day in the library,” said Farara. “One of the things we thought was interesting with the SGA survey data is that it didn’t match up with our results at all. We’re finding a consistency that our busiest hours are from 11 a.m. to roughly 6 p.m., and Jeff Angione is suggesting that we’re still only turning away about two students at 10 p.m.”

Even though the library is almost empty at 10 p.m., Weingartner has the data to prove that students are doing homework at that time. According to the survey, most students do their homework at night. Eighty-nine survey participants do their homework between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. while 71 students do their out-of-class work after 10 p.m.

“We took the results of the survey to Joe Farara. He was really excited to see that students ranked the library as high importance to them and that people value it and they were super receptive to extending hours,” said Bent.

Farara sees the SGA’s involvement with the library as an opportunity to pump up the usage of the library.

“I think having the SGA help promote the library and the services we offer and that we’re a great space on campus will help us get to a fuller capacity,” said Farara. “We’ll be able to get together with the SGA and come up with some joint strategies to boost attendance with the goal being expanding hours over time.”

Both Bent and Weingartner hope to see a week of pilot hours where the library is open until 11 p.m. “I really think that we will get some pilot hours extended, and if that happens, students need to go and use the library, especially since we’ve shown that students are interested in longer hours, but now they need to show up,” said Bent.

According to Bent, who had a meeting with Public Safety Director Michael Palagonia regarding the realities of keeping the library open longer, the reason the computer labs close at 11 p.m. is that public safety wants to keep most of the students on one-half of the campus.

“Other than the 24-hour lab, once the RA’s go off duty most students are confined to one-half of campus and it’s easier for public safety to manage,” said Bent, acknowledging that it will be a challenge to the keep the library open after 11 p.m. “I think we could get them until 11 p.m. as long as everyone is on board.”