To accommodate students studying for midterms and finals, UT’s Perry-Castañeda Library will stay open overnight for the rest of the fall semester.
Staking out a high-quality spot in the Perry-Castañeda Library—with good lighting, ample table space, and a nearby outlet—is nothing short of an Olympic event. Which is why anyone who has spent a late night there knows just how traumatizing it is to hear that voice come over the intercom, announcing that the library will be closing in 15 minutes.
Thanks to a Student Government initiative, those announcements will only happen on Fridays and Saturdays now until the end of the fall semester. Beginning yesterday, the Perry-Castañeda Library will be open 24 hours a day, Sunday through Thursday, through finals. The popular study spot will close at 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
The 24-hour library was one of the key components of current student body president Thor Lund and vice-president Wills Brown’s campaign for office last spring.
“This is an academic place,” Lund says. “Students should have a safe place where they can study at all hours of the night, free from the distractions that come from a dorm room or apartment. Providing 24-hour access to a place where students can focus and study is important to their success here. We like to say learning doesn’t stop at 2 a.m., and neither should your library.”
In years past, the PCL has closed at 2 a.m. throughout the semester, with overnight access only during finals week. Lund and Brown’s passion for the project stemmed from safety concerns when students were forced to leave the library at such a late hour.
“The benefits of a space where students can meet to work on projects all hours of the night can’t be underestimated,” Lund says. “There is something to be said about having a place you know you can go to remain free of distractions to get work done and not have to worry about being kicked out before you are able to complete your work or study.”
The change in hours will cost $40,000 per year, half of which will be paid by the Student Services Budget Committee. The other half will be split between University Libraries and the Office of the Provost. The money will go toward hiring another security guard and building maintenance.
The circulation desk, information and research help desk, and other librarian services will continue to close at 11:45 p.m. throughout the week, says Travis Willmann, UT Libraries spokesman. And the library will remain a safe place for students to study: entry to the PCL between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. is restricted to students, faculty, and staff with UT ID’s, and a security guard patrols the building at all times.
Lund and Brown’s next hurdle: finding funding so the PCL can continue offering overnight access five days a week in the future. The pair say they are pursuing that goal, and that they hope to have good news to share as the semester progresses.
“It feels great,” Brown says. “But this isn’t about Thor and me—it’s about the students. If we can make their lives easier and truly give them what they want, then we’re happy.”
Photo courtesy Flickr Creative Commons via wallyg.
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