By Ben Warton and Colter Hettich
Brown Library sees late-night traffic during finals week each semester; but for the first time, students may study in the library from noon until midnight Wednesdays and Sundays if they wish.
Mark Tucker, dean of library and information resources, said the idea is not a new one, but extending hours was not feasible in the past.
“We have a set budget for personnel and we didn’t have additional dollars just to add hours,” Tucker said. “What we did was revise the schedule. We’re not actually open any more than we were.”
Tucker gave the credit to this year’s Students’ Association, specifically President Charles Gaines, for communicating in a way previous proponents had not.
“It had to do with the way [Gaines] approached it,” Tucker said. “He said he understood the complexity of it, and that regardless of how it came out he knew we had the students best interest in mind.”
Casual conversation evolved into meetings with library administrators and SA officers. Tucker said the transition has not been an easy one, and although some individuals opposed the revisions, all who were involved decided the reasons for closing twice a week were far less relevant and not what students wanted.
“The rationale for closing those hours has been to encourage participation in congregational life; we’ve noticed it doesn’t necessarily have that effect,” Tucker said. “Students study when they want to study, and churches do things all during the week.”
Tucker said the revisions met little resistance during the approval process.
In addition to permanent schedule revisions, the library will close at 2 a.m. through Thursday of finals week.
In past years, the library stayed open until 3 a.m. but staff saw insufficient use between 2 and 3 a.m. The library staff has offered finals-week hours for several semesters. “The students tell us that the extended hours are beneficial to them,” Tucker said. “We pay attention to what they say, and we want to have a schedule that reflects the way students work.”
The extended hours take a toll on the library’s budget. Library managers must find people to work the extra hours, including front desk workers, people to work the top portion of the library, and coffee shop staff.
While these hours cost extra, donors and contributors to the Brown Library take care of much of that cost.
“We don’t really have any extra dollars to extend our hours, but we have donors who give us gift funds to help us during this time,” Tucker said.
Students notice and appreciate extended hours. Dosh Simms, sophomore undeclared major from Austin, said the extra hours help him avoid distractions at night and focus on his studies.
“Finals week is a distracting time for me because a lot of my friends want to hang out at night,” Simms said. “Having the library open for those extra hours will help because it makes me actually get out and study.”