Night owls find new roost

KPU library stays open 24-7 in trial run of extended hours.

(Illustration: Roland Nguyen/The Runner

KPU library stays open 24-7 in trial run of extended hours.

By Samantha Lego
[senior news writer]

The KPU library is hoping to make finals easier on students by keeping their doors open 24-7 during exam season.

The libraries on the Surrey and Richmond campus kept their doors open to students from Dec. 9-19. This pilot session acted as a trial run for around-the-clock operations in the future.

“Overall, we think the program went really well,” says Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s head librarian, Todd Mundle. “There were people in the building at every hour.”

Peak times were from 11 p.m. until 3 a.m. “We didn’t really have a target, but when you have more than 100 students or 70-plus students at two in the morning, it’s a good sign,” says Mundle

According to him, feedback was largely positive. Although two problems that can be worked on before April are access to the second and third floors to allow access to quieter study areas and the water fountain.

During the trial run, library services were closed. Only the building was open offering a “warm, dry safe place to study,” explains Mundle.

The university set aside a budget of $17,000 to cover the two trial periods in December and April. Mundle estimates that keeping both Richmond and Surrey campus libraries open cost around $10,000.

The largest portion of the money was spent on security costs. After receiving requests for a later closing time, the library decided to operate on a 24-hour basis.

“We didn’t really want to be spilling students out of the building at two or three in the morning,” says Mundle.

Headcounts over the two-semester trial period will be used to determine whether having the library open longer is something students want.

“That’s the reality of students these days,” says Mundle, “is that they’re not the nine-to-five Monday to Friday variety anymore, so we have to think about that … It’s just not enough for students these days. They need to have access to the resources.”

Steven Button, director of student services for the Kwantlen Student Association and a university senator, says that asking for extended library hours was part of the 2012 senate and board of governors elections campaigns. “It’s always something that I would like to see, [to] have the library hours extended across the board,” he says.

“I think with trial programs like this, we are going to be able to make a better case for it in the future.”

In December, the KSA provided coffee for students using the extended library hours. For April, Button says that with more notice, organizers will be able to better plan and advertise. The KSA has future aspirations of pushing the 24-hour library back to the two weeks before exam period.

“There will still be people who will say, ‘well do we want to spend the money on that?’” says Button. “But no, this looks like it is well used by students, so I was really excited by how well it went.”