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Students upset over library hours during finals week

By Joseph Frescott & Lila Nolan, Assistant Sports Editor & Staff Writer

Finals week is in full swing on the Post campus, and tensions are high among students preparing for midterms. With stress being a common theme, a change made to library policy post-pandemic has only upped the pressure felt around campus. 

Like most departments at Post, there were various budget cuts and layoffs as a result of the pandemic. The B. Davis Schwartz Library was no exception to this, as they laid off two full-time librarians, along with a few adjuncts. This isn’t all, however, as the “budget students,” students who were paid through the library’s budget, were removed. 

Today, outside of Heather Hesse, who has worked for 17 years specializing in archives and special collections, and Anna Giuga, who has worked for 20 years primarily for the Dean, the staff is limited and heavily reliant upon federal work-study students. 

Due to this limited staff, various modifications were made to the library, none of which were felt more by students than the end of the extended hours during finals week. 

Prior to the pandemic, the B. Davis Schwartz Library was open 24/7 for students during the last week, which many students took full advantage of. Reportedly feeling more productive and prepared to go into their final exam schedule, students utilized every level, every night, using the facilities to their full extent. 

With that luxury being taken away, students have felt this loss now more than ever. 

“We had one student last night complaining about the hours. I had to explain to them that it is beyond our control and that I would like to have the library open 24/7 once again,” Anna Giuga said. 

That one student was not alone, as many have expressed their concern about the lack of availability. 

“It’s extremely frustrating that there’s already so much pressure and stress around finals and now there’s the added stress of the library closing– let alone as early as 10pm.,” junior veterinary school student Carly Raspante said.

Giuga understands the students’ concerns, as she has worked for the library for over two decades, and has seen first-hand how vital the library is for students. In her time at B. Davis Schwartz, she has seen the department shrink, and the changes to the hours are just one of many. Former offices, work centers, and upstairs facilities have all been altered or removed, a trend that she does not foresee changing. 

“The problem is that we do not have the people to work these overnight shifts,” Giuga explained. “Work study students can only work 17 hours a week. When I asked if anyone could work until 12 p.m. to extend our hours, we only had one response and it was a ‘no’… I would love to keep the library open because it is so important for students, but [Heather and I] can’t work 24/7.”

As of writing, the library’s hours were extended by just one hour from Monday, Dec. 12 to Monday, Dec. 19, with the library closing at 11 p.m.. Junior veterinary school student Bailed Decker thinks that this has become an obstacle for many students. 

“In general, this makes life for students so much harder- especially for students that can’t focus at home or in their dorms,” Decker said. “We need somewhere quiet to study and get our work done, where are we supposed to do that after 10 p.m.?”

This is a problem that Decker has dealt with personally, as she has had to change her schedule in order to have adequate time to study at the library. 

“The library having limited time to study has 100 percent added to my already existing stress level. It’s been extremely detrimental to my mental health and stress levels as a student … I have to pre-plan and ration every second of my day, just to ensure I have enough time to study before they start asking students to leave our campus library,” Decker said.

Along with the additional stresses and pressures that come with the limited library hours, many students chose to point out the financial component of being a student at Post as well. Paying a significant tuition, students expect the services that are expected to come with it. 

“It’s not only frustrating but so confusing that we pay nearly 60k in tuition

each year and don’t even have a library to study in during our finals,” Raspante said. “We pay a lot of money for buildings and services that the students can’t even use when they have to— and now we’re actively getting kicked out of our library during finals.”

While this issue is outside of Giuga’s control, she offers a solution that could make 24/7 availability possible once again. 

“I have a lot of international students that would like to work here, but they do not qualify for federal work-study,” she explained. “If administration allowed for budget students again, we could add to our staff and possibly extend our hours, because students need this space.”

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