Forum calls for change in library hours

By Danielle Pritchett

Student Government held a forum Monday night for students to express concerns about the new hours of W.T. Young Library.

The Young Library, which was open 24 hours a day last year, is now closed between the hours of 2 and 7 a.m. due to budget cuts. The forum came after widespread student concern about the new library hours.

“It allows students the opportunity to say how this has impacted them,” said SG President Tyler Montell.

Students who attended the forum explained many concerns they had about the new hours, including the actual amount of money saved.

Tourette Jackson, a doctoral student in public health, said, “If they’re looking to save money, why do they keep the lights on?”

Jackson said the problem stemmed from misappropriation of funds.

Janitors and security guards still have to be kept on staff even though the library is closed, said SG Sen. Allyson Dailey, a communications senior.

“Why don’t they just open the doors?” Dailey said.

Another issue was the lack of communication between administrators and students. There was a general call for a public explanation to the community.

“No one asked student opinion, because they knew it would be 100 percent negative,” Dailey said.

The main issue of the forum was actual student need.

“I’ve been in the library way past 2 a.m. myself,” SG Vice President Grant Mills said.

While the library will operate 24 hours a day during mid-terms and finals weeks, not all classes run on the traditional finals schedule, Montell said.

“I can’t get much done at 8 p.m., because the library is so packed,” said Jackson, who added there are no quiet study places in Lexington that are open all night.

Students also brainstormed possible solutions to the problem, including opening limited floors of the library, instating a book fund, looking for sponsorship or opening an alternate library.

“We want to put together a list of issues surrounding the situation and provide that for the administration,” Montell said.

While opening an alternate library was once a serious option, Montell said he recently discovered that the difference in cost would be minimal.

However, most attendees agreed that the first plan of action should be to reinstate full 24 hours of operation for the Young Library.

Decreased enrollment in professional programs and an inability to fulfill the top-20 goal were both problems the students said could result in not re-opening the library.

“This has definitely impacted students in a big way. A lot of people are really upset about it and it’s affected their academic performance,” said Montell, who added that the issue was SG’s top priority.

A planned student sit-in was postponed after the forum was announced, an occurrence SG Chief of Staff Tyler Fleck called a coincidence.

Christin Lang, an integrated strategic communications junior who planned the sit-in, said, “It’s absolutely absurd there’s no (24-hour) library. We’re students here. I didn’t come to watch basketball.”

The forum closed with a general demand for the university to find the money and open the library.

SG is looking to host another forum, this one including the provost and other university officials, Mills said.

“We’re not looking for a compromise,” Fleck said. “We’re looking to fix the problem. We want students to come and explain how the library closing early has affected their lives.”