Many aspects of university can leave students feeling nocturnal – whether its midnight kitchen raids, crawling in from Gallery at 3am or the persistent noise of your housemate’s terrible drum and bass. Of course, there is also the dreaded ‘all-nighter’; that student accomplishment wherein we cram a terms worth of work into one blurry eyed, caffeine fuelled evening. Either way, it is clear to see that students live a varied, twenty-four hour lifestyle.
Finally, it has been realised that our library and archive facilities do not accommodate the diversity of student living. The latest campaign launched by YUSU highlights the university’s need for a twenty-four hour library, making a welcome change from the endless crusade concerning Langwith Bar. If campaign efforts prove successful, the students whose spontaneous bursts of academic excellence only occur after dark will finally have access to a calm, studious environment twenty-four hours a day.
Whilst the J B Morrell Library advertises itself as the central information resource in the University, access to vital facilities is stunted by the current opening hours. The doors firmly lock at midnight Monday to Thursday, and you can expect to be turfed out prematurely at 9pm for the remainder of the week. This is pitiful for a university that prides itself on the excellence of its academic research.
The Library User Survey compiled in May 2008 aimed to identify exactly where library services were falling short of users expectations. The low levels of satisfaction concerning opening hours present just one factor on a frustratingly long list of discontent. Twenty-four hour opening must be the next step taken by the university in their mission to revive the library, making it an environment that inspires study and learning.
Comparatively, York is somewhat late in realising the necessity of such a campaign. The University of Bath leads the way, with library facilities permanently available to students twenty-four hours a day. Reports showing the levels of nighttime use have greatly exceeded the university’s expectations. Not far behind, our roses archival UCLan boasts a library that opens 24 hours, 7 days a week during term. In addition, The University of Bristol SU has recently witness campaign success, being granting twenty-four hour library opening during their busy eight-week exam periods.
In short, York is falling behind in its services to students. A twenty-four hour library will mean easier access to key texts, exam papers, quiet study areas as well as photocopying and computing facilities. The library’s many resources can be shared out over longer periods, making them accessible to more students for longer hours. Thanks to self-service facilities, the only staffing obligation lies in providing the required security. Finally, whilst some students may find wandering home from the library after dark daunting, there is always the free ‘Magic Bus’ funded by YUSU, which picks up from under the library bridge at 11:50pm every night, dropping you to your door.
It is time to recognise the library as the vital academic heart of our university. With the library and bar in place, we may finally be living on a bustling, twenty-four hour campus. Well, you didn’t come to university to sleep, did you?