Library hours do not encourage academia

An essential part of a university experience occurs at the library. It is a place of studying, of commiserating and of learning. Most of all, it offers students a quiet study environment. However, The University of Alabama’s libraries have variable hours that change with activities, especially with football. Gorgas Library, McLure Library and Bruno Business Library, for example, are almost always closed on home football Saturdays.

Even the UA library with the most expansive hours, Rodgers Library, closes Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and opens on Sunday at 1 p.m. These hours encourage a culture of cramming and are a symptom of a university that does not emphasize academics first.

Specifically, having four of the five university libraries closed on home gamedays (Hoole Special Collections is not open on any weekend day) is not a practice that encourages academia. It is not required to attend home games, but students have only one library to go to on home football gamedays, which could create crowding at libraries. It sends a message that students should be at football games rather than studying.

This practice is not ubiquitous at Southeastern Conference universities, though. The library with the longest hours, Rodgers Library, is closed at 30 hours a week. Compare that to Texas A&M, whose library is closed only 24 hours a week, or to Tennessee, whose library is closed only 22 hours a week. Neither of these universities close any of their libraries for football games.

This very telling statistic is only a symptom of a greater problem at the University: a lack of emphasis on academics. In order to succeed, the administration must emphasize academics, and the first step to doing that is at least one 24/7 library. Perhaps, then, we can move to having more than one library open on football gameday Saturdays.

Alex Moffitt is a junior majoring in political science and French.

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