University official: Gelman Library to maintain 24/7 availability

Gelman Library will no longer change its 24/7 availability after students complained of the new restricted hours for the building, according to a statement from Provost Steven Lerman Wednesday afternoon.

The University had initially changed Gelman’s hours according to a posting in the library widely circulated online Tuesday night. The changes, which were to start on Aug. 31, meant that the library would close on Fridays at 11 p.m. before reopening on Saturdays at 10 a.m. and closing at 10 p.m. to open again at noon on Sunday. The 24-hour access would have remained Mondays through Thursdays.

“We continuously try to balance the need to make sure that there is high quality study space available and operational efficiency,” Lerman said in the statement.

Barbra Giorgini, the executive director of GW Libraries, said in a statement that the change in hours was considered as an option when determining how to best use library resources, based on the times when Gelman was used most frequently.

“However, we have heard clearly the need to keep Gelman open and operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Giorgini said.

The initial change in hours caused strong responses from many students, who circulated a petition to keep the 24/7 availability that attracted nearly 2,000 signatures.

Casey Syron, the Student Association executive vice president, thanked SA president Andie Dowd and Dean of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski for their work on the issue in a tweet.

Dowd said in an interview that she had been emailing Lerman about the situation, but while in Rice Hall – where a majority of GW’s top administrators, including University President Steven Knapp, work – ran into Konwerski and Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Planning Forrest Maltzman, and they discussed maintaining Gelman’s availability.

“We just took the necessary steps to reach out to the administration. Luckily, we were able to talk to a lot of them today,” Dowd said. “I think it was exciting – we got to see how everyone banded together and that everyone was very passionate about this.”

Jacqueline Thomsen contributed reporting.

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