Library hours do not encourage academia

An essential part of a university experience occurs at the library. It is a place of studying, of commiserating and of learning. Most of all, it offers students a quiet study environment. However, The University of Alabama’s libraries have variable hours that change with activities, especially with football. Gorgas Library, McLure Library and Bruno Business Library, for example, are almost always closed on home football Saturdays.

Even the UA library with the most expansive hours, Rodgers Library, closes Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and opens on Sunday at 1 p.m. These hours encourage a culture of cramming and are a symptom of a university that does not emphasize academics first.

Specifically, having four of the five university libraries closed on home gamedays (Hoole Special Collections is not open on any weekend day) is not a practice that encourages academia. It is not required to attend home games, but students have only one library to go to on home football gamedays, which could create crowding at libraries. It sends a message that students should be at football games rather than studying.

This practice is not ubiquitous at Southeastern Conference universities, though. The library with the longest hours, Rodgers Library, is closed at 30 hours a week. Compare that to Texas A&M, whose library is closed only 24 hours a week, or to Tennessee, whose library is closed only 22 hours a week. Neither of these universities close any of their libraries for football games.

This very telling statistic is only a symptom of a greater problem at the University: a lack of emphasis on academics. In order to succeed, the administration must emphasize academics, and the first step to doing that is at least one 24/7 library. Perhaps, then, we can move to having more than one library open on football gameday Saturdays.

Alex Moffitt is a junior majoring in political science and French.

  • C.

    Please tell me this article is a joke. I know this is the Crimson White (whom never has anything positive to write about anyways) but I can’t help but feel that this article has helped CW reach a whole new level of stupidity. How in the hell are the hours 7:30 am-2:00 am (Mon-Thurs) of so much inconvenience to you that you have to complain about it? Your argument of how the library being closed for the weekend is ignorant because not even once do you mention the fact that librarians have to be there monitoring the library. Librarians are working human beings who, shockingly, need days off too. How many kids other than you do you think are going to be in a library studying during a football game? Look at the number of people in the stadium, the number of people tailgating, and the number of people staying home to watch the game on TV, then tell me how successful a library open on game days would be. I’m surprised the library is even open on Away games.
    Stick to learning your French, not writing, Alex. Because even this garbage doesn’t belong on CW.

    • Liz

      Wow, what a rude overreaction. There’s really no need to attack the author personally because you have a different opinion.

      Alex, I agree that the hours of the libraries on campus aren’t encouraging of studying on gamedays, but it might be hard to implement the same hours. A good start may be to offer limited hours at libraries other than Gorgas (just because of its location) on gameday with limited staff, and keeping the libraries open an hour or two longer on Fridays and non-gameday Saturdays.

      • C.

        Overreaction? Probably. Because the CW never has anything positive to say and its completely ridiculous. All it is is complaint after complaint after complaint. About EVERYTHING. These “authors” will never run out of things to bytch about. When you’re all not completely submerged in what the Greeks are up to, you’re busy finding something else miniscule to write about.

        • Liz

          This was a letter to the editor, not a regular CW author. My point was that you didn’t need to attack the author personally.

        • Asher Elbein

          The purpose of a newspaper isn’t just to point out what’s right (though the CW does plenty of that as well, if you pay even the slightest bit of attention.) It’s also to point out what’s wrong, what could be fixed, and what’s just plain messed up. This letter is pointing something out that is a completely legit concern. If you want cheerleaders, go to a football game.

  • CP

    As an employee of the University Libraries who has had the misfortune of having to work during a home game , let me tell you how bad it really is. Actually, bad doesn’t even begin to describe it. We spent most of the time monitoring drunk fans, dealing with overflowing restrooms, sending the police officers to break up fights and playing babysitter to the numerous kids whose parents dumped them in the library. As a former UA student, I feel your pain….kind of. Please trust me when I tell you that it’s all but impossible to study in the libraries during home games b/c it’s very loud and the noise designations for each floor are pretty much thrown out the window. And getting here; that alone would be a chore for anyone who doesn’t live on campus.
    The libraries administration had to make the tough decision to close some libraries during home games not because they wanted to but because it made sense. It’s insanity and once you’ve spent an entire shift arguing with drunk people about the rules (no, you cannot bring your alcoholic beverage into the library and yes beer IS alcohol) or in the case of students, once you’ve spent several hours attempting to study or get any work done to no avail because the noise level is astounding, you’ll realize that closing early for those particular days is a Godsend. Remember, if you’re a currently enrolled student, you have full access to the databases and e-journals from your dorm room or home.
    Rodgers Library is open 24/5, Gorgas is open until 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and McLure is open until midnight Sunday through Thursday.

  • KP

    Before everyone gives his or her opinion about what should be, go to Gorgas library on a game day (it only closes for three games this year). There is never more than ten people in the whole library.

  • Larry Tate

    Academia. That’s funny. The University of Alabama’s prime directive is to make money…lots of it. If you suggest a way that UA can turn an extra buck by leaving Gorgas open on game day Saturdays, they will do it. However, it may not be utilized in a manner that would enhance the academic experience. Imagine trying to study next to a bouncy castle and surrounded by souvenir booths.

    • Brett Somers


  • Casey Sperrazza

    Library closure on Saturdays is a logistical issue. Look at a campus map, and look at where the libraries are. The only one that’s potentially unaffected by the noise of Gameday is Rodgers, the one that they leave open.

    The other libraries are in locations such that, if they were open, fans would use them as a clean restroom or somewhere to catch some air conditioning. The logistical nightmare that would ensue from trying to tell countless drunk people “hey, scan your ACT card” is not worth the headache.

    The only place I agree with you is that it would have been nice to have libraries open before 1 on Sundays.