Campus / News / November 6, 2008

Library hours extended for finals

Last Thursday, Student Senate held its weekly meeting in the round room of CFA, and though President Elaine Wilson was unable to attend due to Homecoming duties, Vice President Bryan Lund read a comprehensive message to Senate from the President:

“Last week, Trevor and I met with Jeff Douglas, the head of the library, and it went very well. He expressed that moving immediately to 24-hour library access would be extremely difficult as it would require hiring at least one more full-time salaried library staff member, and the library’s budget has been allocated in its entirety for the 2008-2009 academic year. The ideas expressed in the resolution have as much to do with creating more comfortable public study space and space for socializing as to extending library hours. Unfortunately, capital projects, like the renovation of Wallace Lounge, have been put off, to begin construction during summer 2009 at the earliest. The economy and its uncertain future have forced the college to manage its funds more conservatively than usual. Knox’s Vice President for Finance Tom Axtell will hopefully be joining us at the Nov. 13 senate meeting to address the situation regarding the college’s endowment, investments, et cetera. Though additional expenditures are difficult, Jeff Douglas was very helpful in estimating the costs of staff and utilities based on different scenarios of when and for how long the library would be open additional hours.

On Tuesday of this week I met with Dean Breitborde, and he has decided to authorize the extension of library hours to be open until 3 a.m. (it is currently open until 1 a.m.) during the week of finals, though no specific dates have been discussed.

While it is not the 24-hour access that the resolution ultimately sought, the issue of timing is important to consider as we, the Student Senate, passed this resolution in the sixth week of the term which gives Dean Breitborde, Jeff, and the library staff about three weeks to prepare for any changes in their normal schedule.

Dean Breitborde didn’t appear to have any firm opposition to keep the library open 24 hours during finals, just concern for a) stress on the current library staff and b) implementing such a drastic change in such a short amount of time. He sees the extended hours as an easy, inexpensive way to test the response and popularity during the fall term finals period and go from there for winter and spring terms. As I understand, what little this would cost (not more than $100-150 I believe) would be covered by Academic Affairs, but I’m not entirely sure. Student Senate will NOT be responsible for incurring these costs. This is just what’s in the pipeline right now, and nothing is definite.

I’ll update the senate as I learn more in the next week or so. If you have any pressing questions I would suggest you ask, [junior senator] Trevor [Sorenson] or you can e-mail me, and I can get back to you at the end of the weekend. I apologize for missing tonight’s meeting. Have an excellent meeting and a great time during Homecoming weekend.”

After some brief discussion on future possibilities regarding library hours, Senate moved on to a discussion of additional prairie plots on campus, given by Safety and Services Chair Trevor Sorenson.

“One thing that’s kind of nice to have on campus, and we discussed this in committee briefly and sort of touched on briefly in last week’s meeting, was the addition of prairie plots on campus,” Sorenson said. “So we wouldn’t just have the two, with one by the tennis courts and one by SMC. We’ve discussed several locations, I’ve talked this over briefly with Scott Maust, and right now we’re just trying to get a general feel of the senate.”

The four proposed locations are Post Lawn, behind the library, in front of SMC, and behind the 50 Year Club and the Townhouses.

After some brief discussion on the issue, mostly concerned with ‘lurkers’ in the tall grass, a straw poll was taken on the locations to get the feelings of the Senate: 16 senators voted for “as many places as possible” for the prairie plots, 8 voted for behind the library, 2 voted for in front of SMC, 3 voted for behind the 50 year club.

After fund approvals this week, the Student Senate Discretionary Fund had $26,064 remaining for the year.

Student Senate sessions are held every Thursday at 7 p.m., and are currently held in the Round Room of CFA, though that location is subject to change.

Andrew Polk


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