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Volume 3, Issue 1                                    University of Houston

24-hour pilot program ends at Anderson Library

By Romina Kim
Breaking News Staff

The M.D. Anderson Memorial Library ended a 24-hour-access pilot program Tuesday night. Library staff will now study the usage data compiled during this time to consider whether to offer similar services in the future.

"We have been keeping tabs, but the data has not been thoroughly analyzed," said Linda Thompson, the library's assistant dean for bibliographical and access services.

The library stayed open 24 hours a day Monday through Thursday between Nov. 29 and Dec. 13 so students could have a quiet place to study, do research and use computers during final exams week, Thompson said. The pilot program was a response to requests from the student senate that the library be open around the clock.

Thompson estimated an average of 160 people came into the library between 12:30 and 7 a.m. any given day.

"The numbers of students have been variable from night to night," Thompson said.

That number is in addition to the people who were already in the building when the doors were locked at midnight. People entering the library between midnight and 7 a.m. had to show a valid University ID.

A common trend during this period was for students to stay until 2 or 3 in the morning and then leave in a mass exodus, Thompson said.

No library services were available overnight. Two to three library staff members were on duty during those hours along with a police officer.

Thompson said library staff did not encounter any major unexpected problems while on duty during this period -- most of the problems were the same kind that occur during the day.

"We have a lot of problems with food," she said, explaining that some students tried to sneak in snacks -- like waffles and maple syrup -- that don't mix well with books.

Overall, Thompson said students seemed to cooperate with the staff.

"People seemed very appreciative," she said. "Everyone seemed to understand the expectations and had their Cougar 1Card out to get in."

Thompson estimated that if the figures show a need for more library services, a decision would be made sometime during the spring so that staff could be prepared well before spring final exams.
 

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