Student Government Association passed a bill during the fall semester that would extend the ACU Brown Library hours from 12 a.m. to 2 a.m from Sunday to Thursday, but no official changes to hours have taken place yet.
The bill was presented by Hannah Maniscalo, junior class vice president and junior political science major from Spring, with the claim that 74% of ACU students would utilize library extended hours.
Lindsey May, SGA president, said Maniscalo got her data from a student-wide survey.
“[Maniscalo] took the route of wanting to allocate senates money to pay for student workers in the library,” May, senior marketing major from Farmersville said. “After she did the student-wide survey, she went ahead and created her resolution that ultimately passed.”
Despite the passing of legislation, no changes have been made due to lack of communication with library administration. James Wiser, dean of library services & educational technology, said the last conversation between himself and Maniscalo was over the need to collect data on keeping the library open later.
“That was the last conversation we had until [May] sent me the email that SGA passed a resolution for us to open until 2 a.m.,” Wiser said.
The library has been opened till 2 a.m. in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic. This program was a pilot funded by SGA at the time because of the limited budget of the library.
“We kept track of data,” Wiser said. “The last time we were open until 2 a.m. the numbers didn’t merit us continuing it. On most nights after about 12:30 a.m., you could count the number of people on two hands.”
Wiser told Maniscalo that it would be helpful to see data to resume the conversation of extending hours.
“There are a lot of moving parts in opening the library additional hours,” Wiser said. “It’s not a decision we can unilaterally make. If the library is open, Starbucks has to be open, if they don’t want to pay somebody to work those additional hours then we can’t open the library.”
The passes resolution includes an allocation of $2,880 to the library to pay student workers.
“[Maniscalo] has been working to increase student minimum wage on campus,” May said. “The amount that she has allocated with this bill would pay these student workers who will work 12 a.m. to 2 a.m. $9 an hour so this is a step in that direction.”
Additionally, the library is the most expensive building on campus to maintain so the administration would have to approve the library paying more money, Wiser said.
“When we are closed we do something called climate shed or energy shedding and all of the utilities are turned off to save money,” Wiser said. “An additional two hours means an additional energy cost that the university is going to have to pay for.”
Typically, the library will align hours with the World Famous Bean and the Royce and Pam Money Student Recreation and Wellness Center. Wiser’s concern lies with what would happen if the ACU Library were to further the hours. Libraries in the surrounding Abilene area also follow roughly the same hours.
“If we open our hours later the other university libraries, [other libraries] are going to feel the pressure to do the same when they don’t have the budgetary capability to do that,” Wiser said.