Library extends study lounge hours

Students now will be able to remain in Gelman Library’s fourth-floor study lounge until 2 a.m. after University administrators approved funding for additional security.

The two-hour extension kicked off Monday night with a ribbon-cutting party. Students packed the library’s fourth-floor lobby, eating desserts and drinking coffee. At midnight, members of the Student Association and Gelman Library student liaison Kevin Groves cut the ribbon leading into the stacks.

“This is an example of what should happen when students come forward with an idea and then work with administrators,” University Librarian Jack Siggins said.

“It’s a realistic goal that came through,” Groves said. “It’s important to concentrate on goals one step at a time.”

SA undergraduate Sen. Philip Meisner (ESIA) proposed the resolution to keep the study lounge open two extra hours because of a lack of space in the all-night study lounge on the library’s first floor and in residence hall study lounges.

“(The goal) brought together many parts of the University, which don’t usually work together,” SA Executive Vice President Jesse Strauss said.

“It’s heart-warming when we can help students,” Meisner said.

Dan Seigel, a member of the SA’s undergraduate policy committee, first got the idea for the resolution after encountering crowded study lounges last fall during finals.

“Seeing how inadequate the space was, it struck me as a glaring problem,” Seigel said.

Meisner and Seigel first met last spring with Gelman administrators, who were receptive to the proposal, Seigel said.

This year, after six weeks in committee, the SA voted on the resolution and unanimously passed it Oct. 19.

Gelman administrators’ primary concern about keeping the fourth floor open until 2 a.m. was security. Siggins said the floor has many “nooks and crannies” where students could become isolated. If Gelman was to implement the resolution, it would have to add additional security to patrol the fourth floor at night, Siggins said.

Additional security will cost $3,500 to $4,000 for the academic year, Seigel said. Gelman Library and the SA did not have extra funds in their budgets to cover the costs. If the funds were to come from the University, Vice President for Academic Affairs Don Lehman had to approve the expenditure.

President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg wrote a memo to Lehman encouraging him to approve the funds.

“Imagine an undergraduate student group urging us to keep our library open longer hours, so they can do more studying,” Trachtenberg wrote in the memo.

Lehman approved the funds for the extra security.

“The decision was pretty straightforward,” he said.

During the extended study hours, a University Police officer will patrol the study lounge and the stacks, UPD inspector Darrell L. Johnson said.

“We’ll do our part, but students need to remember to safeguard their belongings while they are studying,” he said.

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