Students request more library hours on weekends

Recent student complaints have revealed dissatisfaction with the Roscoe L. West Library hours.

Students argue that the library’s 6:00 p.m. Saturday closing time is too early because Saturday night is a prime time for study.

The library is open a total of 98 hours weekly. This is more than meets the needs of the College’s students, according to Taras Pavlovsky, dean of the library.

“Graduate students are here all Saturday morning, and by noon the place is packed,” Pavlovsky said.

“Yet by 4:00 p.m. it’s dead, and the library is still open for an additional two hours,” Pavlovsky added.

Pavlovsky also stressed the relative emptiness of the library on Sunday mornings and afternoons.

He reported that crowds don’t begin to appear until 5:00 p.m. when many students return from weekends spent at home.

The College library closes at 12:00 a.m. on Monday and Tuesday, 11:00 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, 7:00 p.m. on Friday and 11:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Comparatively speaking, the Rutgers system (which includes 22 libraries) offers three libraries that remain open past 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, 10 libraries that remain open past 11:00 p.m. on Sunday, 15 libraries that remain open past 7:00 p.m. on Friday (six of which close 12:00 a.m. or later) and 12 libraries that remain open until 12:00 a.m. or later Monday through Thursday.

One of Rider University’s two libraries remains open past 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, past 11:00 p.m. on Sunday, past 7:00 p.m. on Friday and until 12:00 a.m. Monday through Thursday.

Students’ fears concerning library accessibility have been heightened by the state budget cuts implemented by Gov. James McGreevey.

“I think cutting library hours is the last thing the school needs to do,” Mary Patrick, junior English major, said.

“I think, if anything, they should increase the amount of hours students can study. After all, what’s the point of being here if we can’t have a quiet place to study?” she added.

Many students rely upon the library’s solitude as well as its resources to complete coursework.

An especially sought-after feature of the library is its computer lab. Students without personal computer access depend upon the facility to conduct course-related research, type papers and design PowerPoint presentations.

“What sometimes is a problem is the availability of computers in the lab,” Mike Steele, elementary education math, science and technology major, said.

“While we have other labs on campus, the one in the library is kind of small and could stand to be larger. I’m sure that budget cuts will not help this situation,” he said.

According to Pavlovsky, library hours are based upon student need and staff availability.

Nevertheless, the College budget also plays a key role in defining the quality of all library services.

“At this stage of the game, we’re not looking to make any cuts,” Pavlovsky said.

To be sure, library hours have not as yet decreased. Moreover, the library’s electronic reserve system and web databases, which have been updated during the past five years according to Pavlovsky, are available to on-campus students 24 hours a day.

The College community is well aware that no College service is immune from future cuts.

“Everything’s on the table,” Pavlovsky said.