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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Why UMass Boston Needs ‘Always Open’ Facilities

Why UMass Boston Needs ‘Always Open’ Facilities

Knowing that the University of Massachusetts Boston is a commuter school, many believe that we should have more access to the facilities, including the cafeterias, libraries, and other quiet places to study. Like my peers, I too wish for some UMass Boston facilities to have more accessible hours, especially during midterms and final examination periods.

While the library offers extended hours during finals, these times are often not enough for commuters who travel many miles to get to campus. In looking more in depth at this issue—the limited time we have with our facilities at UMass Boston—I have begun to look into 24/7 facilities on other college campuses. Sure, a library that is open 24/7 sounds awesome. If it’s so awesome, why don’t we have more of them? Does the idea of an “always open” library and cafeteria on a college campus only sound good in theory? Let’s look at what the research has to say about this.

One study titled “24/7 Library Hours at an Urban Commuter College” was conducted by Maureen Richards, an assistant professor and the electronic resources librarian at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York. Using survey methodology, she explored the demographic information and reasons for library visits when John Jay College of Criminal Justice started offering 24/7 library access in the Spring 2014 semester.

The research in Richards’s study found that even when library services such as reserves, circulation, and the reference desk were not available, by just providing the library space and equipment for students to complete academic work, it was fulfilling a vital need. Not only did the study show that having a 24/7 library was beneficial to students, but over time, the number of students who used the library and services increased.

Perhaps UMass Boston can soon adopt this principle. At a commuter school, I believe a lot of students such as myself would appreciate and utilize the facilities if the hours were extended. The evidence shows that students would benefit greatly from such privileges

What about other facilities at UMass Boston? I think the campus would benefit from 24/7 access to those, too. With the new residence halls on their way, one has to wonder: is 24/7 access to facilities in our near future? After all, when the dorms are done, students will virtually always be “on campus.” There will be a need for more quiet places to study, translating to a new discussion for the administration on extended library and cafeteria hours.

Neighboring colleges such as Northeastern University and Boston College both have libraries that are open 24/7. It has proven to work for them and their students, and I think the same will happen at UMass Boston, if implemented.

Even though 24/7 libraries have proven to work, one has to look at the arguments against these. One such argument is that there could be possible security issues with 24/7 facilities. Of course, these areas would have to be monitored by security and/or public safety officers. This may come at a price for a school that is already in a budgetary crunch.

Aside from the financials, I hope 24/7 access to facilities is a step that UMass Boston takes sometime in the future. We are hardworking and high-achieving students. Perhaps this would be the icing on the cake.