Library Hours May Increase

The Student Government Association, library administration and board of curators have heard requests for longer hours at libraries. Together these organizations are measuring solutions with a possible student fee.

Some students have asked for a 24-hour Miller Nichols Library and Learning Center and the idea has been discussed, but a couple points are holding up strong consideration.

Out of the 16,635 students, over 90 percent do not live on Volker’s campus. The university has three additional libraries: Health Sciences, Dental, and Leon E. Bloch Law. These libraries share funding with Miller Nichols and a library fee for all students would be shared and benefit all libraries.

Student Body President Ida Ayalew has been working with Vice President Alex Varon, Administrative Vice President Fatima Sharif, Dean of Libraries Bonnie Postlethwaite and Director of Public Services Cynthia Thompson on extending hours by finding common ground with what students want.

“I think everyone understands, at this point that 24 hours is not going to be feasible,” Ayalew said. “We are fairly a commuter campus, so extended hours would probably be best, because from the hours of 1 to 6 (A.M.) no one is at the library, so it isn’t very cost effective.”

Current library funds go to improving environment, technology, facility upkeep and security. Dean of Libraries Bonnie Postlethwaite described the current issue in extending hours a, “budgetary constraint.”

“Every year something new comes out and we can’t begin to predict what those things are, but they make a huge difference to students and how they do their work, and we don’t want to be limited to just thinking hours,” Postlethwaite said.

Student Body Vice President Alex Varon explained the process behind passing a student fee increase.

“We (SGA) will lobby to UMKC senators, they will draft a resolution for a fee increase, whatever it may be,” said Varon. “That has to be approved by simple majority or two thirds of the senate, and then it goes to the student body for a vote.”

The vote would be held on Roogroups.

“It just comes down to what the students want put forth,” said Varon.

Determining which hours should be extended has been a challenge for Director of Public Services Cynthia Thompson.

“We want to make sure that whatever decision we make that we are being good stewards of whatever funding we get to do this,” Thompson said. “If we know that students don’t really care to have the library open during certain hours, then we won’t be open.”

Recent aid came to Thompson with a student survey sent out via email. The survey was conducted by the Office of Institutional Research’s Larry Bunce. One of the things the 1,736 participants
volunteered was their typical study times.

Results compiled by the Office of Institutional Research.

Results compiled by the Office of Institutional Research.

“We know we probably don’t need to have the whole building open if we’re talking about this building (Miller Nichols). But we probably need the two bottom floors open,” Thompson said. “To do that we would need to be able to lock off the rest of the building.”

Administrative Vice President Fatima Sharif, also studying medicine, talked about the Health Sciences Library on Hospital Hill.

“Some days they close at 5:30,” said Sharif. “You can see coffee shops completely packed with students, especially on Saturdays.”

Expanded hours at Miller Nichols Library will begin April 25 and run through May 11. Sunday the Miller Nichols Library will be open from 12 p.m. – 1 a.m., Monday – Thursday from 7:30 a.m. – 1 a.m., Friday 7:30 a.m. – 9 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.

rmhmqc@mail.umkc.edu

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