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The Library is Back! Mostly.

(Photo Credit: University at Albany)

By Erin Odell | October 11, 2021

The University Library’s hours have been shortened, taking away an important space for students to get their work done with midterms on the horizon.

After a quiet year on campus, facilities have returned to near-normalcy as students come back. The University Library is included, with some tweaks to their hours.

Currently, the main University Library opens at 9 a.m. Monday through Friday and closes at 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 p.m. on Fridays. On Saturdays, it is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 11 p.m.

These hours, however, differ from those pre-pandemic; previously, the library was open from 7 a.m. to 3 a.m., cutting down six hours of study time. The reduced hours minimize the number of quiet spaces available for students to study. With busy schedules including clubs, sports, and jobs, the nighttime is a big chance for many students to do their work.

According to the University Libraries’ Director of Public Services, Deborah Bernnard, “The busiest time of the day for the University Library is late afternoon through evening,” though they can not provide specific statistics at this time.

Even before opening in the morning, several students can often be spotted waiting outside. Nick Sierzenga, a senior at the university, leaves his house early just to study in the library. “I wish they opened at eight like the Science Library… sometimes I get here earlier and have to find somewhere to go.” Sierzenga is among many students who regularly come to the library in the mornings.

Olivia Ngu, a sophomore, is another early regular. She describes the library as a “nice environment” to “get work in before class”. The library’s location on the academic podium is only a quick walk away from any class. When it comes to midterms looming over students, she says, “Coming here [the library] is probably helping me.”

As for the decrease in library hours, Bernnard stated, “We do not have enough staff to keep the libraries open until 3 a.m.” That being said, the libraries aren’t exactly understaffed. While budget cuts and health concerns have lowered the number of those working at the libraries, Bernnard says that they “schedule our staff to make sure that there is adequate coverage during these times.” This includes midterms and finals weeks, in which the library sees an increase in student use.

Bernnard says that they would like to hire more staff, but are unable to for many reasons, including a budget cut and the time it takes to hire a library employee. Like many places, the libraries are “still in a state of flux due to the pandemic and [we] want to make sure that we will have a healthy environment.”


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