CORVALLIS, Ore. – Responding to a request from the Associated Students of Oregon State University, OSU’s Valley Library will keep its doors open to students from Sunday at 10 a.m. until Friday at 10 p.m. during spring term, with regular hours on Saturdays.
According to Jennifer Nutefall, associate university librarian for innovative user services, the library is temporarily changing its open hours after meeting with ASOSU representatives last year. “They came to us in the fall after being concerned about some computer labs on campus closing, and they asked us what options they might have in keeping the library open,” Nutefall said.
Kevin Schock, vice president of ASOSU, said student support for keeping the library open 24 hours a day has been extremely positive. In fact, after sending out a survey to OSU students, 1,800 out of the more than 2,000 responses ASOSU received were in favor of opening up the library all night.
“Students keep radically different schedules than a large portion of those in the ‘professional world,’” he said. “They seem excited to have a place that will accommodate their diverse schedules.”
“This is a great way to affect a lot of students,” said Heather Bennett, ASOSU executive director of campaign resources.
Library staff put together a budget based on keeping the library open during weeknights for an entire academic year, and then upon the request of ASOSU, gave them a modified budget for a spring term test run. ASOSU then approached OSU President Ed Ray and Provost Sabah Randhawa with a request to use $42,000 in technology resource fees to support the extended open hours during the term – a request that they granted.
That money goes toward supporting two security guards to work in the library from midnight to 7 a.m. each night, two temporary staff to run the circulation desk, several student workers, and any extra custodial staff that might be needed. Nutefall said other university libraries around the country have similar programs, and OSU looked at how those libraries addressed safety and budget concerns when designing their extend hours approach.
After midnight during the extended hours, only people with valid OSU IDs will be allowed in the building. Security will check ID at the door, as well as check with those already inside the building at midnight to make sure everyone has a current ID.
Nutefall said the library will keep track of the number of patrons who utilize the library during the extended hours, and staff will also track which floors and rooms patrons are using, what services they are utilizing, and whether students are congregating in groups or using the library individually.
ASOSU is also going to survey students and see how they might be utilizing the expanded hours. Bennett said that will help them assess whether it’s worth keeping the library open longer, or whether hours need to be modified to better serve student needs.
That data will be examined by the library and ASOSU toward the end of spring to determine whether the program may continue.