Students unhappy with latest library policy change

By Julie Santiago

Students who petitioned for longer library hours in 2015 think that the new group study room policies lack transparency.

The policies, which were implemented in Spring 2017, have study rooms in the library closing 15 minutes before the library closes.

These study room policies have concerned some students who feel this could be the beginning of other library cutbacks.

“We did not work hard for over a year to expand library hours so (that) the administration can start (cutting) the time as they please,” said Chicana/o Studies and History major Claudia Blauser. Blauser, who had previously helped petition for the library hour increase, believes students should not be denied the last 15 minutes of library time, which can be crucial.

“I understand needing five minutes, (which) seems reasonable (because of the) time to clear the top floor. There has to be a solution to this problem,” Blauser said. She believes every minute students take in the library is a minute and a step closer that they can use to reach their academic goals.

The reduction of study room time is especially concerning to those who had previously helped fight to increase the library hours.

At the Inter Club Council meeting on Nov. 17, clubs such as the East Side Spirit Pride and Fire Technology Club discussed topics such as group study room time reductions.

A student, who wishes to remain anonymous, attended the meeting and said that certain clubs who petitioned for the library hours back in Spring 2015 were upset when they heard about this policy change. Club members were not notified about the policy change.

Some council members feel that, while this policy does not go against their agreement, it could be the beginning of more cutbacks to come.

Librarians Antonio Ng and Erika Montenegro said that this policy was put in place by librarians and staff.

“It has to do with being able to close the building on time,” said Montenegro, who has been working at the library for seven years. Montenegro said that 15 minutes gives staff and other librarians enough time to start wrapping things up and students a heads up to start cleaning up.

According to Ng, who has been working at the library for 20 years, student workers stop working at 10 p.m. “Fifteen minutes extra means overtime,” Ng said.

Montenegro and Ng said that  students having to leave 15 minutes before has to do with security purposes.

“If (people) come 15 minutes prior, (they will) still see students here,” said Montenegro. Students very rarely leave exactly 15 minutes before, according to Montenegro.

Montenegro and Ng said that 15 minutes gives them enough time to clean up in the study rooms, of which there are 25, because they can get dirty.

Montenegro and Ng say that librarians and staff find it hard to close all the rooms on time.

“People will bring an extra large pizza, leave food wrappings under the shelves, attracting bugs and possibly ruining books,” said Ng.

Librarians and staff do not plan on changing the study group policies further.

Librarians expect budget cuts. However, they can not speak about what might come from the administration, which might also influence library hours in the future.

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