LSESU resource request for 24 hour library opening during term time





Dear members of the APRC [Academic Planning and Resource Committee],



We the undersigned students request to allocate appropriate resources to enable the opening library 24 hours during term time [MT & LT].



Our arguments are listed below.



 Over 100,000 extra hours of study were used by students because of the 24hr library pilot, with an average of 85 students in the library each hour, and over 300 being in the library after midnight on several nights. (APRC review figures)

 The marginal cost of opening for a few additional hours can therefore be almost as much as 24hrs APRC Report. The greatest demand for library use is between 12-4am however there is no extra cost in keeping it open after 4am when some students continue to benefit from it.

 Last year the LSESU requested the APRC to extend the pilot scheme for one more year to ensure that there was a comparative element when considering the usage statistics but this request was not granted.

 We believe that a decision made based heavily on usage statistics without a fair comparison is inconclusive. Furthermore usage statistics fail to take into account the extra value brought by these late hours in completing deadlines, job applications or coming in early to prepare for interviews or presentations etc as students are clearly showing an urgent need and gaining a large benefit if they are studying this late at night.

 The library survey on the pilot scheme showed 73\% of students questioned said it was very or fairly useful, and none said it was not as useful as expected or not useful.

 The LSE student highflyers are renound for their high levels of extra curricular activities/societies, personal initiative in making the most of central London, driven work ethic and success in getting internships/job opportunities during term time which make studying after midnight common practice and vital for these students academic success.

 As student expectations rise in relation to high fees, demand for 24hour study facilities continue to grow, particularly when competing with other universities. 14 Universities across the country have 24 hour library opening. Out of which 6 are from Russell group institutions; Cambridge, Oxford, Imperial (pilot) Nottingham, Sheffield, Liverpool, and more are implementing them as a trend in UK education.

 The unique composition of students at LSE; 70\% International and over 50\% Postgraduate including those that are Mature and Part-time further exacerbates the need for extended opening. Increasing student numbers make it harder to find a workplace and quiet work environment to study during normal hours, so we should not deny the opportunity to study at night.

 Recent opinion poll conducted by The Beaver showed that over 80\% students wish to have the library opened 24 hours.

 LSE has come some way in recognising student need for such accessible spaces and currently makes provisions to keep the computer room A038 open 24hours a day during term time, however the Library is a vital resource when studying at night.



Resource implications



 According to the report submitted to APRC the total extra cost required to keep the library open for 24hours (23.00 08.00 for MT and LT) during term time is 74,707

 The APRC approved for around 18,000 for extended library opening hours, therefore the outstanding total amount to keep 24 hour library opening is 56,707

 A038 is currently open 24hrs, with high security costs. If the library were open 24hrs it would not be necessary to keep A038 open, considerably offsetting the costs of a 24hr library. This occurs during the summer term when A038 is closed.

 On this basis the resources currently allocated to keep A038 open 24hours could be transferred to opening the Library 24 hours during MT and LT, thus further reducing the costs from sum of 56,707.





Welfare



 The LSESU recognises that there are welfare concerns associated with 24hour library opening, but does not think that these concerns warrant not having 24hour use during term time. The LSE already keeps a 24hr computer room open, and opens the library 24hrs during the summer when stress levels are at their highest, so we dont think this will cause any significant change.

 The key concern is that opening the library 24hours during term time may be taken as an invitation for students to study relentlessly, deterring them from adopting a health work ethic and normalising their behaviour.

 However we believe that students can already study at night if they wish, but that the library should makes sure that they are efficient during that time so need not spend as long studying.

 It is important to note that students are already working unconventional hours, possibly in cramped environments in their rooms (with no separation of living space from study space), without access to books, useful course materials and so by providing them with supportive study facilities will not adversely affect welfare.

 If a student chooses to work at night, it doesn't necessarily mean that they are working longer hours than anyone else, doing last minute work, or getting any less sleep. It may just mean they are choosing a different time to work, when the campus is less crowded and noisy and it is easier to concentrate. This is a rising trend with increasing student numbers.

 Moreover to our knowledge during the pilot scheme of 24hour opening there was not an increase in serious, reported cases of students welfare being adversely affected due to the extended opening in term time.

 Another welfare concern is about the safety of students leaving the library at unsocial hours in order to grab some food whilst studying. The LSESU is aware of this situation and thus have requested that the School look into providing a 24 hour common room with vending facilities within close proximity to the Library. Discussions on this are currently underway.

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