Students Successfully Push for Extended Study Hour Space During Finals
For pre-med student Yoni Mehrzadi (YC ‘17) the library is an important asset. Mehrzadi, who spends much of his waking hours throughout the semester studying, started questioning why the library closes so early. Mehrzadi said “it’s frustrating when you’re in middle of studying and someone interrupts you and tells you the library is closing for the night.”
Although many other schools, like Columbia University and NYU have 24 hour libraries, currently, YU does not. While there are lounges in the dorms that students can use to study through the night, most are not a conducive place to study. Mehrzadi decided it was time to do something about it, and approached several Gottesman Library librarians, finally making it to the director of the library Paul Glassman. Listening to his advice, Mehrzadi started a petition on change.org, seeking to rally the student body to the cause.
The petition began with Mehrzadi explaining the need for longer library hours, especially on a campus where students are in classes as late as 8:00 PM, or later, on a regular basis. He touched on the fact that we all have a dual curriculum and have to look for time to study throughout our day, arguing that longer library hours are necessary. He also went on to note that the recent improvements in the library show YU’s investment in their students study time, but maintained that the hours are really what need to change to facilitate a more productive learning environment. Mehrzadi appealed to change the opening time to 8:00 AM from 9:00 AM and the closing time to 4:00 AM, from 1:00 AM.
Yoni acknowledged that although 1:00 AM seems pretty late, when you consider the students who get out of class or lab at 10 or 11 o’clock at night, it becomes much easier to understand. YC student Daveed Mozeson explained he was in support of the petition when he said “there are some students who have no other place to study and just need more time in the library”.
One hour after posting his petition to change.org, it had garnered 100 signatures. This prompted the Office Student Life that same evening saying a meeting had already been set up to discuss the petition and library hours. When responding how he got people’s attention so fast, Mehrzadi said bluntly “take initiative.” He continued “We aren’t a big school, but that just means that your voice can be heard.”
On Tuesday morning, December 22nd, a meeting took place with Director Glassman, John Moryl head librarian of the Pollack Library and Leah Adler, Head Librarian of Hebraica-Judaica at the Gottesman Library, Dean of Students Dr. Nissel, Director of Security Paul Murtha and student representatives from student life committee. They discussed the students concerns of not enough library hours around finals time and came up with a plan. For this semester (Fall 2015) classrooms on the third floor of Glueck will remain open until 4:00 AM, and a printer is going to be placed in the heights lounge in addition to more chairs. Looking ahead, the group came up with a pilot program for the spring semester(to be evaluated at the end of that semester), with the hope to have library hours extended until 4:00 AM the week before reading week, reading week, and until the last day of finals.
As the librarians explore this idea and assess how they can accomplish this goal, it’s important to think once again like Yoni Merzhadi who took his idea and made a change, “We mold the university as much as the university molds us.”