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This term, the library will be trialling a 24-hour opening period, Sundays to Fridays, allowing students to study at whatever time suits them during the approach to the exam period. This development will be of great benefit to the student population, in particular final year students under great time pressure.
These planned opening times will not necessarily encourage poor revision strategy. Students revising for exams during the night before an exam would do so whether the library was there to assist them or not. All that this 24/5 opening time will give for these students is the opportunity to find and use resources in this time, making this last minute revision more effective, but not making it an advisable strategy. On the other hand, should students be requiring resources on a short timescale, with large amounts of work due in a short amount of time in this exam period, the 24-hour opening time would enable time management to be done much more effectively, as it essentially gives another 12 hours that can be used as the working student sees fit.
Sleep is a very important for students, especially during exam time, when students find life to be at its most stressful. However, I don’t feel that the library opening times will cause students to abandon sleep in favour of study. Just because the service is available 24 hours, does not mean that all students will use it for this time. I imagine that the majority of students will continue to visit the library in its standard opening times, but some may use the opportunity of elongated opening hours in order to create a study timetable that will suit them.
Furthermore, not all students have the same sleep schedule. Much as it is a cliché, some students really do operate on a different schedule, and perform best at work in the evenings. In these circumstances, the library is merely recognising that there are differences in individual learning styles and timetables, and giving students the option to learn and study in the way that best suits them.
There is no right or wrong answer to individuals study timetables. Some people will study better during the day, however others may find that it is helpful to use the times when the library would usually be closed. This trial scheme is simply giving these students the opportunity to study in the way that suits them, rather than forcing them into a study routine that they aren’t comfortable with. University study is about choice, and the choice of study time reflects the individual who is doing the study.
If a student leaves study to the last minute, revising through the night instead of sleeping, extended library opening times will not save them from the exams to come. However, when used as a tool in a varied study toolbox, this extended opening time could be valuable to many students. I find it admirable that the library is willing to trial these extended hours, and allow students themselves to decide how best to use their study time. There are a variety of different students, with different study types, and the library recognises this and is supporting those who previously went without support. Students can be trusted to know their own strengths and weaknesses when studying, and these elongated opening hours will simply be a different option for students to choose from.