Editorial: Students deserve 24-hour library access

Editorial: Students deserve 24-hour library access

At 11:50 p.m. you’re sitting in the Gregg–Graniteville Library, completely entrenched in your studies, when a staff member politely notifies you that they close in 10 minutes. Before losing focus, you reluctantly acknowledge their heads-up and then quickly pack up your things to leave.

For some students, this scenario is irritatingly familiar and many of them want to avoid it by opening the library for 24 hours.

According to a poll posted to the USCA Student Life Facebook page, a large portion of the student body support opening the library for 24 hours. Pacer Times posted this poll to measure the student body’s opinion. on the matter These results show a potential consensus among students that may warrant a change.

Considering this, SGA and administration should make a more concentrated effort to measure the student body’s opinion and make changes accordingly. These institutions must consider the preferences of students and, based on this poll, transitioning to a 24-hour library should be a top priority for them.

Student Body President Brandon Eberl acknowledged some potential obstacles within this issue but expressed great interest in formulating a plan for change. Eberl suggested conducting a cost-benefit analysis and consulting campus police about the safety implications of a 24-hour library. Overall, Eberl believes a 24-hour library would be beneficial and plans to add the topic to the SGA itinerary.

“I think a gradual progression would be helpful. It would encourage students who can’t get there during normal hours to go there and get their studying in,” he said.

This message of support and Eberl’s pledge to raise the issue suggests that the SGA would play a supportive role in making a change.

Although the SGA’s backing would be helpful, this transition would require the support of the administration and library. This is because such a drastic change necessitates extensive preparation, collaboration, and alterations between various campus institutions. Obviously, the library and its employees would surely bear the burden of this change and the administration should provide the necessary resources to assist them.

Rodney Lippard, Director of the Library and Center for Student Achievement, is in his third year as director and has 25 years of library experience across several institutions.

About the issue, Lippard said, “I’m certainly not opposed to it as long as we have the money to hire personnel and to keep the students safe. Those two things are my biggest concerns.”

The emphasis on maintaining the safety and security of the library is an important aspect to consider when discussing a 24-hour library.

During exam week, when the library is open 24 hours, Lippard hires security to check IDs and monitor the building. This is an effective but costly expense the library undertakes so students can have a quiet place to study during a stressful time.

Lippard remarked, “if we were to think about it on a permanent basis, we would probably hire a full-time employee to work overnight and then we could maybe offer some of the same services…”

This sentiment, along with the recent expansion of the library’s hours, demonstrates his commitment to giving the students the library they desire.

Although there are aspirations from the student body and a willingness from Lippard, transitioning to a 24-hour library cannot materialize without proper funding. Like most campus initiatives, this transition would be expensive, and it would require a hefty increase to the library’s budget.

For this reason, SGA and the university administrators should collaborate and establish where this issue should be prioritized. If their research suggests that students want a 24-hour library, as the poll above does, they should consider adjusting the budget to accommodate the library’s needs. It’s their responsibility to consider the preferences of students when creating policy and this is an opportunity for them to demonstrate their institutional effectiveness. 

If feasible, a 24 hours library would benefit students in several ways. A library is a large place that allows students to study in a quiet and comfortable place. Currently, the B&E is the only place on-campus with 24-hour access and it is hard to focus with other students studying or socializing within ear-shot.

Also, a 24-hour library would give students, unrestricted by time, access to the thousands of books the library holds. While students can check out many of these books or access them during business hours, this change would allow them to reference several books, as needed, and remain focused on them instead of marking their place at closing time.

Although this topic is seemingly important to students, it’s very complex and the transition process shouldn’t be rushed. Extensive considerations must take place regarding finances and security.

However, to say it’s impossible is inaccurate; with the right leadership, this change is certainly attainable.

Though often written by a single member of the board, editorials reflect the opinion of Pacer Times as an organization and the leaders that manage it. Letters to the editor may be emailed to Editor-in-Chief Cecilia Maddox at cmy@usca.edu and will be published at the editorial staff’s discretion.

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