You’re sitting in the J.D. Williams library studying for a huge test, or maybe writing a paper that you probably put off a tad too long. You’ve been there for a couple of hours now, but you still have a lot of work to do before heading home. The clock strikes 1:40 a.m., and you hear a warning: “The library is closing in 20 minutes.”
You’re about to get kicked out.
The University of Mississippi’s library is not open 24 hours, but some students, like sophomore Tess Gilboux, wish it was.
“I would like it to be open 24 hours, because there are people who are late night studiers, and not morning studiers,” she said. “Every time I’ve been kicked out, I’ve needed to study more, but was forced to leave my current environment and go to a location where I’m less productive.”
Stan Whitehorn, the head of Library Facilities and Access Services, explained why the library isn’t open 24 hours and why it will probably stay that way.
“We’ve been open 24 hours all semester long in the past,” he said, “and we stopped doing that, I believe, in 2004 or 2005, because what we were finding is that past 2 a.m., there was just nobody. There’s not enough people to merit keeping the library open, staffing it, and keeping the lights and the electricity on.”
Even if the university raised money or increased the budget to keep it open, Whitehorn said they wouldn’t based on studies.
“Periodically, we do censuses,” he said. “We count how many people are in the building, and we try to see what they’re doing and how they’re employing their time.”
Two years ago, a survey was conducted that led to current changes.
“(We) took a look and realized we could stay open one hour longer and serve a great amount of people,” Whitehorn said, “and if we stayed open more than one hour until 3 a.m., it just wasn’t worth it. So we lengthened our hours to 2 a.m. based off of what our patrons wanted, and what we were seeing.”
Even though 2 a.m. may seem early to night owls, some students accept the library’s current hours.
Sophomore Addison Markham said she doesn’t need the library to be open 24 hours.
“I’m neutral to the fact that the library is not open 24 hours because there are other places to study at all hours of the night,” she said. “I would like it to be open for those who need it, however, I would never utilize it even if it had those hours.”
Sophomore Ivy Underwood agrees that the library should be open longer for college students who need it, because they’re always studying long hours before exams. However, just like Markham, she said she has found a better place to study.
“I started going to The Graduate because it wasn’t ever as crowded as the library, and I always had a place to sit,” she said. “It’s really good for studying late at night, and I know during finals last year, some people would stay there all night and sleep on the couches in the lobby.”
Even though library leaders say it won’t be open any later in the near future, students have other options. Underwood also recommends The Graduate.
“I like the way The Graduate is set up,” she said, “and it’s conveniently right next to the Square. So if you’re hungry or need a break, it’s easy to take a walk or something, and you don’t have to walk as far at night by yourself to get to your car,” she said.