By: Elliot Heller  | 

Uptown Library Extends Hours During Finals

The night owls of YU will have some extra glee this finals season, as the Wilf campus library will be open all night long for the first time ever, the library announced in an email to students last Monday. All floors of the Pollack library will remain open until 6:00 a.m. from January 1-10, for the duration of finals.

The move was inspired by a petition started last year by YC junior Yoni Mehrzadi, a biology major who has seen his share of late night study sessions. The initiative was then taken on by the Wilf Student Life Committee, and finally came to fruition this semester.

"As students of YU who face the challenge of a dual curriculum we struggle with finding enough time to balance both our classes and our study time," read the petition, which garnered 363 signatures, including some from non-YU students. "Whether it is cramming for that chemistry test the next day, or pounding out a ten-page research paper due that morning, a designated study space is not only desired, but necessary.

The petition argued that "many students, especially those enrolled in YP and taking labs, often end classes as late as 11pm, finding themselves having to skip classes in order to complete assignments and prepare for tests....the time constraint associated with limited hours is detrimental to student health and productivity ultimately affecting quality of work (not to mention stress levels). The Library's recent improvements show that YU is committed to providing its students with a productive environment in which to study. By extending library hours, not only would it show support for the students that take on rigorous schedules by their own volition, but also allows for every student to take full advantage of the library's facilities."

Explaining the necessity for the move, Mehrzadi stressed that the library serves as a space reserved exclusively for study, and free of distractions, unlike students' dorm rooms, where a roommate might be sleeping, or floor lounges, where students socialize.

For students who prefer to study in the Heights Lounge, it and Nagel Commons will be open 24 hours a day throughout finals, with the exception of shabbat and between 2:00 and 6:00 a.m. Sunday mornings.

Mehrzadi said that while he was satisfied with the change, he would like for the extended hours to be in effect during midterms as well.

"I think after Sukkot break is when the library should start extending the hours, because that's when midterms start to set in, which are as difficult as finals except we have classes too.  Maybe three weeks before. Or at least have the library open earlier on Saturday nights, since Shabbat ends so early.

"I'm personally thrilled that they're extending the library hours for finals," said Rachel Lelonek, a junior at Stern College for Women, “because I feel that the library is the place where I get most of my schoolwork and studying done. Even though it's a bit of a commute from Stern to the Heights, it's completely worth it for me.”

Lelonek echoed Mehrezadi’s wish that the library extend its hours during midterms as well so that she could “optimize” her studying time. She also had more suggestions for improving the accessibility of the library: “I would like it to be more convenient for me to get to the library during finals, which can be done, for example, by adding more shuttles and making it easier to get between campuses. Even if they extended the library hours down at Stern, that would also be helpful. But I personally prefer the library in Washington Heights.

Others were not as impressed. "I'm not sure how necessary it is," said Yisroel Schatz. The library's been pretty dead this week. I've been there at like 12 and there's no one there."

"The Student Life Committee strives to better the student experience," said Daniel Geller, co-chair of the SLC. "In accordance with our mission, we worked for months with various departments and students to keep the library open later hours this finals season.” Geller thanked the Department of Library Services, Facilities, Department of Safety and Security and our student volunteers who  committed to helping with this new initiative.

“We encourage students to reach out to us with any ideas they might have to make campus better for all of us,” Geller said. “We look forward to new projects that are coming out soon."


photo credit: YU Blogs