Students unhappy with hours of operation at King's, Dalhousie libraries

The Killam’s Friday and Saturday closing hours have changed from midnight to 6 p.m.

[box type=”info”] Update: Dalhousie’s Killam Library reverted the cuts to their hours Oct. 8.[/box]
Students don’t seem too happy with the King’s library – it opens too late, it closes too early, its weekends are slight – but its hours haven’t changed.
The library staff chose the library’s hours according to its busiest times.
“We have experimented in the past with different library hours,” interim librarian Tasya Tymczyszyn said. “We really study when we’re closing how many people were in the building at that time, and if we should be open at different times.”
The busiest time of the day for the library is between 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., when students often have time between classes. The students mainly write and print their papers, use the free Wi-Fi and study together.
Alexandria Samson, a first-year student enrolled in the Foundation Year Program, visits the library three times each week. She mainly goes there to print her papers, thanks to the reliable printer and the reasonable printing cost of 10 cents per black-and-white page. She usually finds the library hours to fit well with her working schedule.
“But I find that it’s not very good when you have to print off a [FYP] paper for Monday morning and it only opens at 9 o’clock, and at 9:20 you have to submit your paper,” she said.
Tymczyszyn knows that FYP students wish the library would open later on Sunday nights so they could print their papers there. She checked that the printer in Alexandra Hall works, as she was a FYP student who lived there and knows how important it is to have a reliable printer.
Dina Gang, a second-year student who lives off-campus, also finds the library hours unreasonable. She doesn’t understand why the library only opens at 1 p.m. on Sundays, a work day for many students.
“I constantly want to be doing work, and need to separate my living space from my working space…so I have to go elsewhere,” the English and creative writing major said.
“The library’s just not there for me when it should be. But when it is there, it’s awesome.”
Later in the term, the Killam library will open at 8 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays instead of at 10 a.m. But, the Killam’s Friday and Saturday closing hours have changed from midnight to 6 p.m.
Dalhousie implemented a 3.5 per cent budget cut on all faculties this year. The Dalhousie libraries received an additional one per cent cut on their acquisitions.
“Where we can, we are trying to balance hours and provide options as much as possible, while faced with a shrinking budget,” Dalhousie libraries’ communications coordinator Marlo MacKay said in an email.
During exam times, the Killam offers Night Owls, when the library stays open until 3 a.m. from Sunday to Thursday, and midnight on Friday and Saturday. The King’s library will offer extended exam hours based on student demand.
Despite the Killam’s later hours, it still isn’t as popular as the King’s library.
“If you lock yourself up in the soul-sucking Killam, all you want to do is leave, and all you want to do is die,” third-year English and history student John Cavan said, “whereas at the King’s library, you’re kind of happy. And happiness is an enemy when you’re trying to get that essay done.”
Both King’s and Dalhousie also offer Live Help, an online service on Novanet, where a librarian is available to help with concerns at any university library in Nova Scotia. Live Help isn’t a 24-hour service, but it is an alternative to going to either of the libraries. Students can also email questions to the King’s library staff.
“The library is always open to changing the hours if there’s a credible need,” Tymczyszyn said. “So if the students ask me for different hours, I’d definitely be open to investigating that.”

By David J. Shuman

David is the current editor-in-chief of The Watch and writes on student issues and events. Find him on Twitter: @DavidJShuman

2 replies on “Students unhappy with hours of operation at King's, Dalhousie libraries”

The criticism about the story update buried here is entirely valid. I’d like to be able to respond more fully to an actual person, though. I see you have a lot to talk to us about, and I’d be happy to meet with you about it. (Or write us a letter to the editor for the next issue in early November — signed, of course.)

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