May 5, 2004

New Uris Hours Find Success

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Beginning this semester, as part of an effort to accommodate varying student needs, many areas in Uris Library have remained open around the clock for all-hours study Sunday through Thursday.

Library administrators decided to make the switch to the new extended hours in response to widespread student demand, said Associate Librarian Anne Kenney. This demand has been gauged by a number of surveys over the past three or four years.

“We made the decision in late November, early December,” Kenney said.

“We scrambled to get it in place for this semester,” she added. Student response has been overwhelmingly positive, Kenney said.

According to security reports, 6,555 students have made use of Uris Library between the hours of 2 a.m. and 8 a.m. since the beginning of this semester, when the all-night hours were implemented. That number is only going to increase as finals approach, Kenney said, adding, “We haven’t seen the busiest time yet.”

“I love it,” said Alex Nothern ’05. “If it weren’t for this I’d be at home wasting time on AOL Instant Messenger,” she said, studying in Uris at 2:45 a.m. on Monday.v “Plus,” she added, “I like the feeling of shared misery. As it gets later, you notice everyone has the same exhausted expression.” Jamie RiChard ’05 said that the extended hours are helpful.

“If I had to be working at home, I’d probably be asleep on my desk,” RiChard said.

According to some, there have been some minor difficulties with the extended hours and the increased security that accompanies them. Between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m., hours when the library was previously closed, security guards are posted throughout the library. Students are required to display a Cornell ID upon entering the library, and periodically thereafter. Students are turned away or asked to leave, if they are unable to produce a school ID.

“I had been working with a friend in the Uris computer lab essentially all day,” said Eve Lenkowsky ’05, “and then at about 2 a.m. a security guard came in and told us we would all need to show ID.”

Lenkowsky had left her Cornell ID card in her room, but offered to show the security guard her driver’s license, along with her entry in the electronic directory to prove that she was a student.

The guard told her that he was not allowed to make exceptions and asked Lenkowsky to leave. She agreed to go, but was upset by the rigidity of the rules.

“I think having the library open 24 hours is generally a good idea,” Lenkowsky said. “They just need to iron out a few kinks.”

Kenney acknowledged that ID checks “are a concern,” but cited student safety as a top priority, and said that the increased security is a necessary part of maintaining a safe working environment. Kenney also noted that there have been a few noise complaints during the late-night hours, but that these have been infrequent. “Students are serious about being there to study. They’re self-policing for the most part” Kenney said.

Over all, the switch to 24-hour access has been a success, Kenney said.

“We’ll definitely be doing it again next year,” she added.

Archived article by Matthew Tompkins
Sun Contributor