With the majority of libraries at the University of Michigan now operating on limited hours, some students say the adjusted schedule has created constraints on their study habits.
The University of Michigan closed all libraries in March 2020 as campus shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Though libraries have since resumed in-person services, they have yet to return to pre-pandemic hours. No library on campus is available between 12 a.m. and 9 a.m.
Business sophomore Kayla Rothstein said though she typically studies at her sorority house, she decided to switch to the U-M libraries as midterms began.
Rothstein said the libraries’ limited hours restrict her ability to study and make finding an open study spot difficult during later hours when only a few libraries remain open.
“Hatcher (Graduate Library), which is where I prefer to study, is only open from 9:00-7:00, which I personally find pretty restrictive,” Rothstein said. “Yesterday, I was studying at Hatcher and it closed at seven, so then I went to Shapiro (Undergraduate Library) and I couldn’t find a table because everyone from Hatcher had moved to Shapiro.”
Alan Piñon, U-M Library director of communication and marketing,wrote in an email to The Michigan Daily that the library is aware of frustrations surrounding library hours and is working to expand them going forward, but they still face staffing shortages.
“Our biggest challenge with returning hours to pre-pandemic levels is staffing,” Piñon wrote. “We had some full-time staff attrition over the pandemic, but our largest shortfall is student workers. To stabilize things going forward, we plan to add more full-time staff so we’re less reliant on students.”
According to Piñon the Hatcher and Shapiro Libraries will both start opening an hour earlier at 8 a.m. on Oct. 20. Starting Oct. 22, the Hatcher Library will also start opening on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Shapiro Library will also open 24/7 from Dec. 11-17 to accommodate University study days and final exams.
Labor shortages have become a common motif across campus and in local Ann Arbor businesses as more students return to campus without the labor supply to support it. At the beginning of the semester, students faced long lines for buses due to difficulties in hiring bus drivers.
Other students have said the library hours aren’t too inconvenient. LSA freshman Ava Rapp said though she uses the Shapiro Library frequently, she does not feel restricted by the libraries’ hours because she wouldn’t use the library late at night anyway.
“I work at Bert’s, so I’m here (at Shapiro Library) almost every day,” Rapp said. “I haven’t really been interrupted because I wouldn’t be walking around that much when it’s super late anyway.”
Daily Staff Reporter Sarah Williams can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.