ASSU Senators lobby for extended Green Library hours

Sept. 28, 2011, 3:04 a.m.
ASSU Senators lobby for extended Green Library hours
Green Library's hours were reduced in 2009 following University-wide budget cuts. ASSU Senator Daniel DeLong ’13 is leading a task force, which includes 17 students, to gather data and see if there is support for extending the library's hours. (Stanford Daily File Photo)

ASSU Senator Daniel DeLong ’13 has been evaluating students’ desire for extended Green library hours since he was elected this past spring. With help from Deputy Chair Dan Ashton ’14 and several statisticians, DeLong said he hopes to accurately gauge students’ interest and lobby on their behalf.

DeLong reached out to students before and after he was elected, seeking to evaluate their needs and concerns. He said one of the major responses he received concerned Green Library.

“Students didn’t feel there was a safe 24-hour or safe late night study space for students outside of their dormitories,” he said.

DeLong noted that librarians will make no capital investments in Meyer, which currently includes a 24 hour study room, because of its planned destruction.

DeLong sent out requests for students to join a task force to examine this topic. He received 17 responses — three of whom were from ASSU members. He said they resisted the initial temptation to send out a petition, claiming that University officials do not take them as seriously.

“The last thing they want to see is a petition,” DeLong said. “Because it’s very easy to sign a petition. And who’s not going to sign a petition saying, ‘I want lower taxes’ and ‘I want better education for my children?’ Everyone’s going to sign both of those.”

They also ruled out sending a mass email, citing participation bias and bias from those who are concerned about student life and library hours. After Ashton worked with professor of statistics Susan Holmes with the goal of making the survey statistically valid, they decided to poll students through random selection.

Delong said the survey will not only be about library hours, as that might introduce biases. Rather, it will ask students to prioritize needs.

“If we find out students really don’t want hours at Green Library extended, this is not an issue we’re going to pursue,” he said.

DeLong said one complication to the issue is that it may not be affordable to keep Green Library open longer. Because of the way the building is designed, it cannot be closed off in sections or fire safety codes will be broken.

Prior to 2003, Green Library hours were 8 a.m. to midnight on Sundays though Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Fridays and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays. The hours were extended for the 2008-2009 school year to keep the library open until 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 10 p.m. on Fridays. Because of budget cuts, the hours were reduced for the 2009-2010 school year, causing the library to close an hour earlier at 1 a.m. Sunday to Thursday.

“We try to use available funds to our advantage, and reducing hours is one among a large number of ways to preserve our core functions, such as building collections,” Andrew Herkovic, University Librarian’s Office director of communications and development, wrote in an email to The Daily. “Back in the grim summer of 2009, we were forced to eliminate more than 60 jobs, across all the library units and functions, and it should come as no surprise that services and hours, including Green’s, were pared as a result. Note specifically that the last cutback in hours was purely a budgetary decision.”

Budgetary discussions for the next school year begin in mid-late fall quarter. DeLong, Ashton and others are currently working to build-in funding for extended hours for the 2012-2013 school year. Altered hours — not necessarily extended — is also a possibility.

According to DeLong, both Provost John Etchemendy and University Librarian Michael Keller have discretionary funds that could be used for this school year to finance extended hours.

Billy Gallagher is a senior staff writer at The Stanford Daily. He has previously worked at The Daily as editor in chief, a managing editor of news, news desk editor, sports desk editor and staff development editor. He is a junior from Villanova, PA majoring in Economics. He is also a writer for TechCrunch.

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