by Emily Orischak, Staff Writer
Shorter library hours cause problems for some students.
Just as the daylight hours seem to slowly disappear, so too are the Cressman library hours. The library closes its doors earlier than a few years ago, primarily because of the staff cuts.
“The library has decreased by many people since 2010,” said electronic resources, information, and instructional services librarian Sheri Schneider. “We are less than half the staff we were a few years ago.”
Schneider plays several roles key to the function of the library as do the other members of staff including the director, Mary Beth Freeh, and the technical services librarian, Scott Parkinson.
There are other part-time employees who help, but the same amount of work rests on fewer shoulders, and the library hours take the hit.
“We don’t have enough staff to do it,” explained Schneider.
“Five is kind of early to close on a weekday,” said one of the student workers. “We were open till eleven on Fridays.”
Senior history major Jess Gilman feels that the 5 p.m. closing time on Fridays is too early.
“Keep it open till midnight like the Muhlenberg library,” said Gilman, who suggested “switching the Sunday and Friday times.”
Other students like the idea of changing hours, including senior psychology major Sara Barscheski.
“I cannot make it during the day,” said Barscheski. “If I want to drop in on a Friday, I hope it is open…Maybe a shift in the hours would be better.”
The current hours for the library during the academic year are as follow:
Monday—Thursday 8 a.m.—11 p.m.
Friday 8 a.m.—5 p.m.
Saturday 9 a.m.—10 p.m.
Sunday 12 p.m.—11 p.m.
The Trexler Library, located at Muhlenberg College, closes at 10 p.m. on Friday and at 1 a.m. during the other weekdays.
Senior history major, Katie Geible, also works in the library. She explained the library used to be open until midnight a few years ago, but it does offer extended hours to students during finals.
Sometimes it is hard to find quiet space in the dorms even during quiet hours, making studying almost impossible for some students.
It was during nights like those where students would seek refuge in the library so they could concentrate on studying. Students must now work their study time into the shorter hours when the library is open.
Freeh explained that the library used to be open till 2 a.m. but hardly anyone would be in the library that early in the morning.
During her thirty-one years working at the library, Freeh has been recording statistics during the busiest times of the academic year to see how many people use the library and at what times.
“We backed off on Friday when we had our staff cuts,” Freeh said.
Using the record statistics, the director decided it would be best to close earlier on a Friday, because they were not as busy. The cost to cover the staff alone would be about $20 per hour.
“I’d rather have them invest it in other things other than hours that are not used,” commented Freeh. “I can see [how] it would be nice to have more hours. I can’t spend it on something that doesn’t make financial sense.”
According to the library’s records, there were two people counted at 11 p.m. one recent Wednesday night, which Freeh called “a hot night.”
“I didn’t realize that [the library hours] changed,” said senior math major Charlotte Maciejewski, who commutes back and forth from campus. “I’m only on campus on Mondays…I’m usually here in the lounge.”
Other commuter students have difficulty finding time in their schedules to make it to the library during open hours.
Donna Scandariato, a SAGE elementary and special education major works full time, attends college full time, and cares for her family of four.
“There are a lot of time constraints,” explains Scandariato. “After 7 p.m. would be the best time for me.”
The current library hours work for many of the students who live on and off campus, and Freeh has assured that “at this point in time we are not going to cut anymore hours.”