At 11:50 p.m. the Roy O. West library intercom notifies students that they have 10 minutes before the library closes. Last year, that announcement didn’t come until 1:50 a.m. The new shortened library hours have left many students asking, ‘“Why?”
According to Rick Provine, dean of libraries, the answer is simple: DePauw’s three libraries are just being used less.
The gates at the entrance to each of the libraries keeps track of the traffic going in and out, allowing Provine to observe how much the building is being used and when. He, along with Dave Berque,interim vice president for academic affairs, adjusted the hours accordingly.
The online digitization of some of the library materials means that students no longer need to stay in the library to access its resources. Therefore, the library doesn’t need to stay open for as long, says Provine.
However, DePauw libraries do not offer a complete digitalization of their library, leaving out some books that students may need.
Provine also attributed factors such as students’ health and safety to this decision.
“I know there are some students who like being here until two,” Provine said. “But it is a small number of students compared to the students who come during the day. And then I think things like health – is it really good for people to be up all night studying? There is the student safety part of it, with people going home at two or three o’clock in the morning.”
The adjusted hours mean that Roy opens at 8 a.m. and closes at midnight Monday through Thursday, and at 5 p.m. on Fridays. In addition, Roy doesn’t open until 1 p.m on weekends.
Although these hours have only been in place since the start of the academic year, students are already expressing their concerns surrounding the limited hours.
First-year Maddie Perry emphasized how it is not only an inconvenience to move from one study space to another at midnight, but it also adds additional time onto her night.
“I think it inhibits our ability to have a quiet and non-distracting learning and study environment,” Perry said. “I feel obligated to go back to my dorm because it’s late, but I don’t feel productive in my dorm room. The amount of time it takes for me to go to a new location and unpack my stuff wastes a lot of time.”
Getting in early enough in the mornings also poses an issue for some. Sophomore Callaway Bird now struggles to get all of his material printed and finished by his 8 a.m. classes.
“I find it annoying that the library doesn’t open until 8 a.m.,” Bird said, “especially since classes start at 8 a.m. I feel like a lot of students would like to get coffee before class starts from Cafe Roy, or even study or print materials before classes begin.”
Likewise, sophomore Kate Hennessey agreed with the above complaints, but emphasized the inconvenience of the weekend hours. Instead of heading from Hoover to Roy, she has to go back to her dorm to do homework until Roy opens at 1 p.m..
According to Provine, these adjustments are a test for now and may eventually need to be reevaluated.