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'Club Lib’ No More As USF Shortens Library Hours

Yoselis Ramos

The Library at the USF Tampa campus has become known to students as "Club Lib" because of the late night hours.  Senior biomedical science/political science major Katharine Orr explains the library as the "hub" of campus. "Everyone is here all the time so it is like a club," she said.

Since the 2009-2010 school year, the campus library has been open 24 hours five days a week. But students starting classes today are facing shortened hours at "Club Lib" as the library is closing at midnight those days.

Dean of Libraries Bill Garrison says there have been budget cuts to other units of campus and the library wasn't spared.

"This is not a decision that came lightly. It's not a decision that came easily. It's not something that we wanted to do," he said. "But there simply isn't any flexibility or money in the library's budget to fund the 24/5 operation."

Garrison says the library started the 24/5 operation in the 2009-2010 school year from money left over in the budget from the year before. This time around, there was not any extra money.

It costs the library $136,000 a year to run the "24/5" hours.

Senior and football player Timothy Finklea said the new hours are going to change his studying schedule.

"Closing at twelve o'clock is actually a shocker, like wow, I need to step up on my game during the day," he said, "because I don't have a choice to make it or not."

Some students have voiced their discontent with the new hours. The Facebook group USF Students Demand Longer Library Hours has almost 800 members as of the end of the business day Monday. Some students have pointed out that the recreation center is open more than 100 hours a week while the library will now be open 84.5 hours a week.

Orr said she does not understand the shorter hours. "They just built like a million dollar park behind here that people do nothing but sit, and we can't go into the library and use the computers?" she said. "We pay a lot for tuition and to be able to use these services."

Garrison said he reached out to Student Government for funding options but the group declined to contribute.

In a press release sent today, Student Government said:

This change was made known to USF Student Government, however, the library is an entity within the Division of Academic Affairs, thus the fiscal jurisdiction for it rests outside of the Activity and Service fee, which Student Government manages for students.

Student Government body President William Warmke said the group denied to pay half of the cost to keep the longer hours this year from the Activity and Service fee, especially after they were told SG would have to fully fund the longer hours in years to come.

"We believe that the A&S fee is reserved for activities and services that supplement (students') education," explained Warmke, "and the library is such a critical component of academic affairs, that we believe (students') tuition dollars should be funding that, not the A&S fee."

Warmke added, "We don't want to cross that line and take away from other activities and services that would be provided to students when we believe administration should be using that money (tuition) to fund library hours."

For the new library hours click here.

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