Week five of the Alkek Library’s 24-hour pilot program is in full swing, but it remains unknown if it will become the designated spot for students to pull an all-nighter.
The six-week pilot program began Feb. 1 and will end on March 11. Nightly head counts and statistics taken during the program will track library usage and ultimately tell if a 24-hour library is a necessary addition to the Texas State campus.
The extended hours would not go into effect until the fall semester, if approved.
“Things have gone relatively smoothly,” said Joan Heath, assistant vice president of the university library.
Heath said most students have shown overwhelming support for the pilot.
“They are very positive,” she said. “Basically, they’re saying they support the library doing this.”
Dax Underwood, business management senior, said the extended hours give students who work during the day a chance to catch up on their school work.
“It’s easier when you come at night, because there is less chance someone already has what you need out,” Underwood said. “I don’t think it’s a bad idea. If some people need the late hours to get in their studying because of work and class, then more power to them.”
Derek Norman, physics junior, has worked at Alkek Library since August 2006. He agreed to take on the task of working the temporary late shift of 1 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. on the fourth floor at the reserve desk.
Despite students’ positive attitudes toward the pilot program, Norman said the floor is usually fairly empty during the extended hours. As a result, Norman does not share the same enthusiasm for the 24-hour pilot.
“I really don’t think it’s necessary,” Norman said. “At 4 a.m. or 5 a.m., there are maybe three people in here, and two of them are sleeping.”
Norman said he thinks slightly extended hours, such as keeping the library open until 2 a.m. or 3 a.m., would be a more reasonable alternative to fulfill students’ studying needs. “Maybe we can be 24 hours for the midterms, but that’s it,” he said.
Heath said while a conclusion has not been made, head counts do show a general decline in attendance during the early hours of the morning.
“When you hit 3 a.m., there is a drop-off,” Heath said.
Numbers have shown a fluctuation in attendance during the first few weeks of the pilot. Heath said the usage probably varies as tests and projects come and go.
“The first week overall was the slowest week.” Heath said. “Week two picked up. Week three stayed at least comparable or the same and week four declined a bit. It might be what we’re seeing here is a parallel in the academic schedule.”
Students such as Tyrone Baugh, exercise sports science sophomore, who use the library’s extended hours are enthusiastic about the possible change, despite the change in numbers.
“I have a hard time studying anywhere else, and I tend to pull all-nighters, cramming right before an exam,” Baugh said.
Baugh said he visits the library late at night to print assignments and to find resources for research papers.
“Occasionally, I’ll not buy a textbook and just borrow the one my professor has on hold for that class whenever I need it,” he said. “With all these different classes that people have to take, there’s always something to study for, or something else to print off or look up for classes.”
Heath said during week three of the pilot, the library staff began handing out a survey to late-night studiers once a week to collect input from students about the pilot.
“We are really trying to get some input from the students that are here,” Heath said.
The survey gives library staff insight into whether students live on campus, their classification and what areas of the library they use during the extended hours. According to the 129 surveys filled during week three of the pilot, the study areas and computer labs are the most frequently used.
According to week-three survey, juniors and seniors made up more than half of the people visiting the library during the extended hours. Freshmen and sophomores made up almost a quarter of people who reported attending.