After announcing earlier this month that Stony Brook’s Melville Library will become a 24-hour library starting in the spring 2016 semester, USG President Cole Lee spoke to The Statesman about the plan to implement the library’s new hours.
Students will have access to the Central Reading Room, along with the Teaching, Learning and Technology SINC site, for the whole day, fulfilling Lee’s campaign promise. The initiative will start with the Central Reading Room because the North Reading Room will be undergoing renovation, Lee said.
Starting this winter, a $3 million renovation will begin in the North Reading Room to add new furniture and more outlets. Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. had planned the renovations and that both of their plans came together nicely, Lee said.
“While the renovations are taking place, it only makes sense that the only room open is the 24-hour one,” Lee said.
During the renovations, the North Reading Room will operate with restricted hours since workers will be working with the wiring in the room.
The push for a 24-hour library came about after Lee reached out to the student body, he said. When he asked students what they wanted most on campus, the overwhelming majority said that they wanted the library open longer, he said.
“Students really had no consistently available, nice, quiet atmosphere where they could get their studies done,” Lee said.
Lee looked to other institutions who had a 24-hour libraries and decided that was something Stony Brook needed, he said.
“Other universities, like the University of Buffalo, have 24-hour libraries because they understand how important it is to make sure that space is there for students who wish to utilize it,” Lee said.
The extended hours will significantly improve the academic experience of students, but Lee is also concerned about student health and sleep, Lee said.
“We understand that sleep is crucial to your wellbeing,” Lee said. He added that he did not propose this plan to endorse sleep deprivation. Instead, he said the library will be open whenever students need and want a quiet place to work.
Administration is also concerned with student’s well-being and sleep. In the preliminary discussions for the initiative, sleep was an important factor, Lee said. There will be signage indicating the importance of sleep, but moreover Lee wants students to recognize when someone has been studying for a long time and encourage tired people to take a break from studying.
Constantina Constantinou, the dean of libraries, declined to comment for this story, but did say in an email that she is working with USG and the president’s offices to finalize the details of the initiative that will be made public next month.
But Lee was certain about one thing: There will be “absolutely zero increase to the student’s fee,” he said on the topic of financing the extended hours. “It’s really because the administration recognizes the overwhelming positive feedback that the students had for this.”