Parks Library has changed its weekly hours for the new academic year. The library will remain open until 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, two hours later than they have been in previous years.
“The library hours has been a concern of students for many years now. There has been interest in having the hours extended,” said Olivia Madison, dean of the library.
Finals Week last spring was used as a "guinea pig" to test the idea of having later hours at the library.
“We did a pilot project in the two previous semesters where we extended our hours during Dead Week and finals and the numbers were significantly higher,” said Evan Anderson, the management librarian at Parks Library.
Madison said the cost of keeping the library open two hours later was a concern. This item has not been at the top of the list in regards to the library's budget.
A portion of the Parks Library's funding comes from the general library funds.
The library has hired two full-time night positions along with student proctors who will help monitor the library at night.
There is a library advisory committee that consists of faculty from each college on campus and three student representatives.
“The student representatives have been great over the years," Madison said. "They were never shy about giving their opinions, which is exactly what we need.”
Those three representatives were also involved with arranging for the new library furniture that is in the front entry. The students stayed highly motivated on issues.
“I spoke to [the Government of the Student Body] and ended up having a really good conversation on the next item of interest, which is to extend library hours,” Madison said.
Originally the plan was to have the library open 24/7, however the library committee felt that if it were open until 2 a.m., it would meet most of the needs.
Student voices were a huge impact on this project.
Anderson said the library received a number of comments indicating that students wanted the library to extend their hours.
“The students we worked with realized that they were really listened to," Madison said.
Students have already put the new library hours to use. This past week, library officials estimate that about 45 students each night have made use of the new 2 a.m. closing time.
“My expectation is as the semester goes on and more and more people learn about it and get used to the idea that the library is open later, we will see an increase in traffic,” Anderson said.