During fall study break, LSA junior Austin VonderHaar was just starting work on a project in the Shapiro Undergraduate Library when he found out the library would close in an hour – at midnight.
Because the undergraduate library remains open until 5 a.m. on regular school days, VonderHaar said he was irritated that he had to leave.
Since the fall of 2003, the library has kept reduced hours during the fall study break. While many students take the break as an opportunity to go out of town, others still studying on campus found the reduced hours to be inconvenient.
“I didn’t know anything about the reduced hours beforehand because the reduced hours weren’t well advertised,” VonderHaar said.
LSA senior Dave Nam was also surprised to learn that the library was going to close early during the break.
“I was trying to study, and they asked me to leave. It was very inconvenient. I did not know about the reduced hours,” Nam said.
Rebecca Dunkle, head of Onsite Access and Distributed Services at the University Library, said the reduced hours were a result of studies done by the library to see whether students use the extra two days off as an opportunity to study or to relax and visit family.
The results, she said, indicated that few students use fall study break for its intended purpose.
“Our use counts showed that we only had only a fraction of the normal library use during the first fall break (in 2002),” Dunkle said.
The year after that, library hours were cut slightly, she said, and use of the library during fall study break still remained low. As a result, in 2004 the University decided to close the library at midnight.
“There still seems to be ample time that the library is open for those who do want to use it, but a large majority of students seem to use these days to leave town or otherwise engage themselves outside of the library,” Dunkle said.
One other reason for the reduced hours was that student employees working for the library chose to take time off during the break.
Some students looking for a place to study after midnight on Monday and Tuesday headed to the Art, Architecture, and Engineering Library on North Campus, which maintained its normal hours throughout the break.
“I knew that they were closing early during the break, so my group decided to meet in the (Duderstadt Center, where the library is housed), and so the reduced hours didn’t affect us much,” said Engineering sophomore Robert Havey.
LSA freshman Zach Liporace was among those unaffected by the reduced hours.
“I was out of town during the break, and so the reduced hours did not have much of an effect on me,” Liporace said.