Your Voice, Your Vote, Your Library

Changing the hours of a library is no small task, but with the help of the Student Government Association (SGA), UMKC has shown it can be done. Working in close communication throughout the entire process, both parties began laying the groundwork for this change nearly 10 years ago. 

Dani Wellemeyer, head of outreach and engagement for UMKC’s library, says the hour changes were completely decided by the UMKC student body.

“There are different kinds of fees that go along with tuition, and for any kind of fee like this, it has to come from the students,” said Wellemeyer. 

Last spring, library administrators presented SGA with three different fee levels needed to fund the new hours. Ultimately, a graduated fee level was decided upon. Each student will pay an extra $3 per credit hour, increasing by $2 every two years and reaching a cap of $10.

SGA decided unanimously to bring this graduated fee level proposition to a student body vote last spring.

“1,414 students voted in the election, and 72% voted ‘yes’ for the library fee,” Wellemeyer said. 

This proposal was signed off by the university’s administration last spring and was passed along to the UM System Board of Curators and signed into action this June.

“The $3 limit will pretty much just  get the extended hours with a few little amenities that will enhance the 24/7 desire,” said Dean of UMKC libraries Bonnie Postlethwaite.

After library hours are extended, more exciting things for UMKC libraries are on the horizon.

Wellemeyer said that “space upgrades, more technology, laptop checkout, and Wi-Fi hotspots” are just a few things students can look forward to.

Health Sciences Library (beginning August 19, 2019)

Miller Nichols Library (beginning September 3, 2019)

Extended Library Hours (Courtesy of fee.library.umkc.edu)

The law library will continue to be open 24 hours for law students. 

With UMKC being an urban campus, proper safety and security measures are considered. Building checks will be implemented at both library locations, and card swipe access will be initiated to enter the buildings. Campus security will also patrol during late-night hours. 

A few perks have been added to the library for those who are unable to take advantage of the extended hours. Students can utilize the new 24/7 librarian chat to ask a wide range of questions or use the updated search engine features in the library’s database.

“Wanting to see immediate change in the library, SGA also wanted to set the library up to grow over time as student needs change,” Wellemeyer said.

Along with continued communication with SGA, a student library leadership cabinet is in the works. Its goal is to help library administration hear the needs of students directly.

Visit the link below to learn more about the library and view the extended hours.

library.umkc.edu/fee

rb7@mail.umkc.edu

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