By Hannah Esrock–
After years of complaints and cramped studying after midnight, U of L’s Student Government Association has worked to extend Ekstrom Library hours for the East Wing from midnight to 2 a.m.
“Working with Deans Fox and Keisling, myself and Meredith Cooksey, Academic Vice President, were able to work through the issue and develop a solution that we thought would make a great pilot program,” SGA President Aaron Vance said.
“As students, Meredith and I are both well-aware of the ‘midnight rush’ in the Ekstrom Library when everyone scrambles to move to the West side if they hadn’t already, and we wanted to work to further alleviate that and be able to give students more time and space to study. We will work to collect data throughout the semester to review the pilot and adjust accordingly following the fall semester.”
In prior years, students have clear out the East wing of the library at midnight only to cram into the small space of the 24-hour West wing. “I didn’t even bother to go to the other side at midnight,” said Kie Dages, a sophomore.
“I knew I would never get anything done with the amount of people crammed into the 24-hour side. It would turn into social hour with the amount of people and I would usually be sitting on the floor, so it was pointless to study there.”
Cooksey understood her and other student’s concerns, saying the mad dash to the 24-hour side at midnight “sent quite a few students home unprepared for exams and with unfinished business.” She also said she is excited to share the SGA and library partnership with the student body.
“SGA is very appreciative of the efforts of Dean Fox and Keisling as well for making later library hours a priority on their end. The challenge that prevented the addition of hours in previous years were created by budget cuts to the library. In addition, logistically there is a lot that must go into later hours (mostly security) that at the surface can’t be seen, but the dedicated library staff spent the time to keep students needs a priority,” Cooksey said.
SGA and Ekstrom Library staff have been interested in increasing library hours for the past few years. Both groups had a lot of pressure from students for the need of this initiative. Other schools, like the University of Kentucky, have 24/7 library access for students.
“It makes sense for us to at least extend our hours. I love the concept,” said Natalie Brown. “However, I don’t think I will want to walk home at 2 a.m. now. It will be great for people on campus or just off campus though.”
“This is one of the best things that has happened at U of L since I’ve been here. Obviously large changes have occurred over the years, but this is a big one that will really benefit students immediately,” U of L senior Nick Stoeckle said.
“2 a.m. is perfect,” Tyler Sutherland, a sophomore said. “Not much school work gets done past then anyway. The university really met students halfway for this one, and it is appreciated.”