The Valley Library is no longer be open 24 hours a day, five days a week as of Nov. 12, due to issues stemming from understaffing.
Once April Zeller, the previous lead evening supervisor, submitted her resignation from The Valley Library, the administrative staff was faced with the task of finding her replacement in a matter of two weeks. When this was deemed unachievable, the decision was made to close the library’s hours earlier than normal.
According to Anne-Marie Deitering, the associate university librarian at The Valley Library, administration is doing more than just filling the vacant position, and deciding to also “take a deeper look and to see if there’s a way we can reimagine [how to manage] that time, really between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m, and what that could look like moving forward.”
Starting this week, the library will be open Monday-Thursday from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m., except for Friday’s hours, which will close at 10 p.m. instead. Saturday and Sunday’s hours will both open at 10 a.m., with extended hours until 2 a.m. on Sunday evenings.
“Hopefully we will have a solid plan by the end of this term… but for now, Java II will be available [from 2-6 a.m.], so anyone who has not heard of this and shows up at 3 a.m. will have a place where they can go,” Deitering said.
With a maximum capacity of 151 people in Java II, there is cause for concern from students in the late-night study sessions leading up to finals week.
“It’s a bit frustrating because I do my work better at night, and I can’t do my work in my room, which is why I come here,” said Cedar Nelson, a first-year Exploratory Studies major.
Knowing that this is a common fear between the students who are informed about the library’s new hours, Deitering reassures that “they are aware that the numbers go up during dead and finals week, well above Java II’s capacity, so the library will reopen the day after Thanksgiving weekend until the Friday of finals week with regular hours.”
Although a temporary solution has been made regarding work space for students, there is unrest between the staff members of the library who now have a significant change in their schedules.
“I worked from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. which was great, I have a pretty heavy course load so working during the day is difficult,” said Ben Gilbert, a staff member at the Valley Library’s circulation desk. “I could get really consistent hours, consistent money, and be able to pay bills, but now I’m working from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. so [getting] sleep is pretty difficult.”
Along with other student-staff members who had night shifts, Gilbert’s work hours are being shifted down to accommodate the new library’s hours.
“Finding time for my coursework, finding time to study, and attend classes is just that much more difficult… especially since all of us have had very little time to transition from the schedules we had been accustomed to, now to this new one,” Gilbert said.
With many angles to consider, the administrative staff is working with students and circulation staff to develop a plan moving forward, and hopes for a clear plan and progress by winter break, along with making sure they are prepared for the chance that something like this happens again, according to Deitring.
“It’s not really fair for a staff member to be put in that position again… so we need to look at the staffing, services and the needs of the people who are using the space at that time and figure out if we can come up with a more sustainable solution,” Deitring said. “My hope is that we will be able to maintain what we provide in our spaces, which is comfortable furniture and a staffed place to be overnight.”