with a 24/5 schedule—opening on Sunday morning and remaining open until
Friday evening—than with a 24/7 schedule.
Formation of Library Hours Committee
Following our compilation of the responses to the ARL Directors List inquiry,
Dean Baker appointed the Library Hours Committee to investigate issues
related to our libraries’ hours and to make recommendations for change to the
Dean’s Council. As the Library Hours Committee began its work, responses
to the ARL list inquiry gave us a greater awareness of the possibilities for
providing 24-hour access. In addition to reporting their hours, many
respondents shared insights, suggestions, questions, and concerns about
providing 24-hour access in their libraries, and these helped the committee
to frame our own investigation:
• Some respondents recommended piloting 24-hour access before
declaring it a long-term plan, in case the service needs to be revised
after implementation or is not heavily used.
• Several respondents raised the question of what users really want
when they ask for 24-hour access to the library: physical collections,
course reserves, research assistance, computing resources, quiet study
spaces, or a combination of these?
• Budgets were a concern. Some respondents share the cost of
providing 24-hour access with their student government associations.
Some are unable to provide 24-hour access due to budgetary
• Safety of users and security of collections were common themes. How
can libraries ensure the safety of students arriving and leaving the
library in the middle of the night? How can they ensure the security
of collections and buildings? Would restricting access to only certain
areas of the library help? Among respondents who provide some
level of 24-hour access, deploying overnight security personnel is
Keeping the Doors Open: Exploring 24-Hour Library Access at Washington University
C O N T I N U E D
DECEMBER 2011 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A QUARTERLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC