Support YUSU’s campaign for a 24 hour Library

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?


  1. 8 Nov ’08 at 6:29 pm

    An Exchange Student

    I must admit, that one of the greater differences between my terms abroad at York and at my home university in the United States was the library hours. Before you go crusading for 24/7 hours, however, keep in mind that one of the reasons the library closes (at least at my University, which is located in an urban area,) is because staff is needed to make sure books aren’t filched–and most workers don’t like taking the 12-7am shift to watch. Silly? Yes. But so is leaving a library unsupervised for nine hours or so.

    Our library has 24 hour zones which are book-free, to give a quiet study place, but otherwise is only open for checkouts until 1am. To compromise with your administrators, rather than push for a 24/7 library, see if you can’t get them to make the hours earlier , around 7am (for the early risers and those who realise that they forgot to read a book before class) and later, up to 3am (so the University can plausibly enlist student staffers to watch over the library, and you can come home early from a night out and still check out a book and feel productive).

    Really, if a book is needed for a project between 3am and 7am, and you couldn’t bother to check it out before, you have more of a problem with time management than with your University library– and time management is something you’ll need in the real world even more than good marks. Better to learn now!

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  2. Having previously attended a University with a 24hour library I am a little sceptical of the benefits of this.

    It might be fuel to those who, come revision time, boast that they havent slept in three week and have exceeded the recommended dosage of pro-plus five times over.
    Go to the library in the early hours of the morning if you want to join a discussion about lack of sleep/caffine levels. If you really want to do well: get some sleep.

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  3. A lot of students do last-minute revision or report-writing and having the facilities open to them is important. Likewise being able to look at key texts at night is useful to many.

    I disagree with the exchange student that security is needed to stop books being stolen – there are many alarm systems and cameras for that sort of thing. It is more an issue of welfare – and a very important one. The cost, however, isn’t massive as a percentage of what it is at the moment.

    I, personally, have used the library about once or twice in my entire first year and expect to use it a little more but not that much in the next year. However whilst I know it doesn’t really apply to me I know that it will strongly affect and improve the library for others. If you have a 9:15 lecture, lectures through the day until 5:15 or 6:15pm and then work until 11pm or midnight, there is no time in the schedule to use the library. Whilst doing more work at the library after that may be overstraining, to many it is not.

    For the last year I have been sleeping from around 4-5am until 8-10am (depending on the day) and have been perfectly happy with working from midnight to 4am in my room if I need to: I bought all recommended texts at great expense because I believed it to be worth it and therefore didn’t really need the library. If I had wanted to go to the library, however, it would have been difficult… and if I had remembered at that time to take a book back but couldn’t go, I would possibly forget it for the next two daytimes and have to pay a fine.

    Again, I’m providing specific and rare cases but there ARE cases when it can be of great necessity to students and that’s why I feel that this campaign is important! :)

    If we can’t get 24-hours, for whatever reason, of course we’ll have to try and compromise for those who want to do work before a morning lecture and those who want to work after a night-shift etc… 7am-3am isn’t bad: but I have the suspicion that staff will be needed during closed hours regardless to stock shelves, etc, and it wouldn’t be saving that much money.

    But we’ll see how it goes! :)

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