midnight to average checkouts at other times of the day showed that circulation
services are not used as heavily late at night. The low hourly averages of
checkouts after midnight, compared to the hourly averages at other times of
the day, raised a question. If we were to remain open all night, would we need
library staff and student workers at the Help Desk?
Counts of Users in Whispers
When considering whether a large number of users would use the space if Olin
were to remain open all night, we might have been tempted to look at head-
counts of users in Whispers, our current 24/7 space, and draw conclusions
based on these counts. If Whispers numbers were relatively low overnight
compared to the number of users inside Olin approaching closing time, we
might conclude that there is no great need to keep Olin open later. However, we
could not draw this sort of conclusion, since users tell us regularly that the café
atmosphere of Whispers is no substitute for Olin as a late-night study space.
Still, analysis of Whispers headcounts collected by the Whispers security
guard from November 21, 2010, through May 10, 2011, revealed that users do
use the space at all hours of the night. It also suggests a parallel between the
most-used nights in Olin and the most-used nights in Whispers. Average
headcounts reveal that Sunday through Wednesday nights in Whispers were
significantly busier than Thursday through Saturday nights, and Olin student
workers’ April and May headcounts revealed the same about Olin.
July 2011:
Library Hours Committee proposes
trial 24/4 schedule in Olin Library
Based on the Service Quality Survey data, counts of users in Olin and Whispers
late at night, and late-night circulation data, the Library Hours Committee
proposed to the Dean’s Council a trial 24/4 schedule for the 2011-2012 academic
year. The 24/4 schedule would begin the third week of classes during the fall
and spring semesters. We would open at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday and remain open
until Friday morning at 2:00 a.m. We would maintain our normal Friday
schedule, 7:30 a.m.–8:00 p.m., and our normal Saturday schedule, 9:00 a.m.–
10:00 p.m. During reading weeks and finals, Olin would implement a
24/7 schedule.
Card access to the building would begin at 9:00 every night. Circulation staff
RLI 277
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Keeping the Doors Open: Exploring 24-Hour Library Access at Washington University
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C O N T I N U E D
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DECEMBER 2011 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A QUARTERLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC
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