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Learning Commons expands overnight hours to weekends

Jennifer Pendarvis

Students work on homework and take a rest on Saturday night in the learning commons of William Allen White Library. The Library Learning Commons had a 24-hour five days a week schedule last semester and the was extended to keep the space open 24/7 for the spring semester.

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We had an overwhelming amount of students asking for more flexible hours.”

— John Sheridan, Dean of University Libraries and Sciences

Last semester, the Learning Commons in William Allen White Library stayed open overnight Sunday to Thursday each week.

But now, the Learning Commons will never close. This semester, the library has upped the Learning Commons hours to 24/7 in response to demands for more availability from students. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Jan. 24.

“We had an overwhelming amount of students asking for more flexible hours,” said John Sheridan, dean of University Libraries and Sciences.

Angie Brunk, reference and instruction librarian, said the library staff used a survey to see what students wanted out of the Learning Commons this semester.

“We investigated and realized that we actually could expand the hours to 24/7,” Brunk said.

Now students can use the space whenever they feel like it, as long as they have their Hornet ID card. After midnight, the rest of the library closes, so the only place still open in the library is the learning commons, which includes a view of the campus, open space, computers, printers and a community feel.

“I used it a lot the whole week of finals and mid-terms,” said Sam Aleman, freshman psychology major. “The commons is really nice and put together. I can really relax and focus on studying, which is hard enough as it is.”

Student opinion has also guided the library staff in their decisions concerning hours and remodeling. Last school year during finals week, over 100 students per evening utilized temporary 24/7 hours that the library implemented, Sheridan said.

“Way back in late spring (2013), we asked about what (students) wanted to see in their Learning Commons,” Brunk said. “Then, we asked about how they felt about the 24/5, and then finally we sent out a survey during finals week and asked if students would want 24/7.”

These new weekend hours are already being used by a slew of students well-accustomed to late nights.

“It’s nice and cozy,” said Sadie Hutchinson, freshman art major. “The computers are really nice and everything looks new and fresh.”

The new hours will stay in place this semester, and from there the university will decide whether to keep them or make another change. Sheridan said that there is currently not an overnight staff member working in the commons area, but he is looking into the cost of surveillance cameras.

“The library staff is really happy that it is getting so much use from the students,” said Christina Williams, graduate library science student.

Sheridan said he is unsure of whether or not the commons will stay open over breaks yet. It gets confusing when the library changes hours around so much, he said.

“We will continue to experiment with that and if we see there are any people coming, we’ll continue to keep it open,” Sheridan said.

Next up for WAW Library is a co-sponsored grand opening of the 24/7 hours space with an international student game night Feb. 7. All are welcome.

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The student news site of Emporia State University.
Learning Commons expands overnight hours to weekends