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Lancaster University Library has extended its opening hours over the duration of the current exam period.
Commencing from April 21st up to and including the June 23rd, the library will be open to students for over 100 hours per week. This extension of access is a response to student demand for greater access to library facilities during the period of revision and examination.
The extended opening hours will be as follows: Monday to Friday 08:00-24:00, Saturday 09:00-24:00 and Sunday 10:00-21:00. The staffed services will operate as usual for term-time; 10:00-20:00 on weekdays and 13:00-18:00 at weekends.
Head Librarian, Clare Powne, indicated that students are always welcome to seek help from staff during these times, commenting that “library staff [members] are very glad to offer any assistance students need with making best use of print and digital information resources during these periods.”
Feedback on library facilities has indicated that students value the library more as an environment conducive to revision rather than for the staffed services when undertaking periods of intense study. Outside of staffed service times, students will still have access to self-service facilities as usual.
Powne also indicated that the library is to closely monitor the student uptake of the extended opening hours this year in order to make an informed decision regarding the planned permanent extension of the library’s Saturday opening hours to midnight. In the past, Powne reported, the response has only been moderate, meaning that this particular change, which occurs annually in response to the examination period, has never been made permanent.
However, facility availability is carefully co-ordinated with student demand, as Powne explained: “We monitor all aspects of use of the library carefully, particularly numbers of people entering the building, and have made a number of changes to opening and service hours over the years in response to changing patterns of use.”
Regarding the planned permanent Saturday-extension, she added, “Provided there is more evidence of real demand for this provision from students this year, we are already planning for Saturday opening until midnight to become the term-time norm throughout next academic year.”
It is important to stress that the value of the library as a quiet area in which to focus on conducting productive, quality revision-time is heavily reliant on the co-operation and self-responsibility of the facility’s users. The library’s staff members are unable to be on hand throughout the entirety of its opening hours, meaning the onus is on the students to respect each other’s need for quiet. Whilst it goes without saying that this applies the whole year round, it is particularly crucial that library users show one another respect and consideration in their use of facilities during the exam period.
Powne summarised the importance of students’ respectful use of the library and the Learning Zone with the following statement:
“The library plays a key role in offering facilities for independent study and research throughout the academic year and together with the Learning Zone provides a variety of study environments to cater for different learning styles and preferences. […] We are improving the designation of areas in the library building for this purpose, but need assistance from students in helping to maintain both the library and the Learning Zone as appropriate academic study environments.”