by Hannington Dia.
Thanks to a joint effort between Students For Educational Rights and Undergraduate Student Government, the administration agreed to add two hours to the Cohen Library’s operating schedule. The new hours are 7am to 12am (previously, 8am to 11pm).
So how exactly did this happen?
After SER’s second study-in at the library to push for 24/7 access in late March, USG approached the group, inviting them to a private meeting they were having with President Lisa Staino-Coico about library hours. Shortly afterwards, SER held their third study-in, which USG members participated in. USG then agreed to work with SER for an indefinitely-open study area, having polled students on library issues during the same month.
“We created a survey that we passed out amongst students in the library and on campus,” says David Anctil, USG’s Vice President of Community Affairs and a member of its Library Committee. “We got over 300 responses. One of the most common notes that we got was that students wanted extended (library) hours, if not 24/7. So we set up the meeting between the Library Committee and President Lisa and we presented her with the statistics.”
“For years, students have been asking for the library to be open 24 hours,” adds Yvonne Cotterell, head of USG’s Library Committee. “Both Columbia and NYU have 24-hour libraries. When I was able to show that concrete information to the administration, they said, ‘Ok, we’ll try it.’”
As impressive as this victory is for the CCNY community, however, you wouldn’t even know about it by looking around campus. Other than a Facebook message, no flyers or posters about the new hours can be seen in the NAC. Or any other buildings, for that matter.
“I’m not sure why nothing has been posted,” Cotterell commented on the lack of promotion. “I think it’s probably just the way that the campus does things.”
Virtually non-existent advertising set aside, USG is now setting its sights on making the library safer for students.
“We’re working on trying to implement popular changes in public safety. I don’t wanna say reform,” Actil says. “That’s something we get a lot of complaints about. Misbehavior from public safety. SER held a couple of study-ins and they were treated not horribly, but not respectfully by public safety.”
So what do students think of the extended hours?
“I think it’s the best thing they can do,” Political Science major Faizus said while studying in the back of Cohen. “A library that’s not open for the students is not a library at all.”
The senior says the old hours were challenging to deal with. “It was too restricted. You can’t really finish classwork at that time. You just need two extra hours to give yourself a push and print it out.”
Faizus is also no exception to the litany of students who want Cohen open round the clock. He shared something simple he’d like to do in the event that a 24/7 library becomes reality. “I’d take a nap here.”