Half the Day is Not Enough


“Just so you know, the library will close in 10 minutes.”

That’s the library staff every night at 7:20 p.m., when I start to send all my documents and browser history from the library computer to my laptop. In these moments, I really wish the library could stay open later.

It isn’t only me. I’ve started to hear more and more students, since mid-fall, complaining that they want the school library to have longer hours.

Last fall, I temporarily moved to a new homestay and the house was too noisy to bear. So I spent all day studying in the school library, specifically in the computer lab (the quietest place ever in this world), until it closed.

I went there every day even though my house was 20 minutes away because I knew that if I went back to my house, I would go straight to bed.

SCC student Chelsea Ip, who spends eight hours in the library every day until closing, posted her thoughts on Facebook in October: “I wish the library hours here were longer. Like open until 9 p.m. would be great,” she said in her post.

She said she thinks people generally concentrate better in the library than at home, and students who cannot afford to buy textbooks need the library to finish their assignments.

Ip said she has a friend whose laptop was stolen and who wasn’t able to submit his assignments because the library wasn’t open.

Even after the library closes, some students, including Ip, will go to open coffee shops, such as Rain Cafe on 132nd, which closes everyday at 11 p.m., and buy drinks or food to study there.

Even though she is graduating this quarter, Ip said she would still be happy to see the library close at 11 p.m..

On the other hand, student Isaac Hazlehurst-Johnson, who was studying in the library with his headphones on a Friday afternoon, said that he only stays at the library two to three hours a day generally.

He said he personally isn’t affected by the hours, but extending them would benefit students who work on a lot of long-term projects that need certain resources, such as computers and media editing software.

Johnson said even if the library closed later, he would still not stay late because the roads would be too dark for getting home.

Edmonds Community College’s library is open from 7:30 a.m.-9 p.m. on Monday-Thursday, and they open the library for five hours on Saturday and Sunday. North Seattle College’s library is also open longer than SCC’s.

On average, there were 7,298 weekly visitors to the library last quarter, according to Collection Development Librarian Claire Murata, who retrieved the data from the gate counter.

Murata, who has been working in SCC’s library for 10 years, said they used to close the library at 9 p.m. on Monday-Thursday and 4:30 on Friday, and then they would open it from noon-6 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.

Murata said the library staff did research on the library’s hours before changing them, and they were significantly longer than the other college libraries in the area. They also did body counts at different hours and found that the visitor number dropped drastically at night.

“People just feel really good when the library is open longer hours, but they don’t necessarily want to use it at that time,” Murata said.

She said most of the requests she heard from students were to open the library before their classes start at 7:30 a.m. and to close it later during finals week.

She said closing the library later, after bus services stop, involves equity issues because it would look like the library is only providing services for students who drive.

“(The library staff) did talk about what students want, what students need, what the college is able to provide,” Murata said.

Yet extending the opening hours isn’t something that the library is able to decide on their own.

Murata said it has to do with the college administration, resources, campus security and King County Metro, as well.

Murata said she believes the college has become very flexible and responsive to students’ needs in these couple years.

“If the students want this, we are open to listen to them,” she said. “We have to hear everyone. If everything lines up, then we can make a move.”

Current Library Hours:

7:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m, Monday-Thursday
7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Friday
Closed Saturday
Noon-6 p.m., Sunday.  

By Frances Hui,
Political Editor