USF students demand longer library hours - WSPA.com

USF students demand longer library hours

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University of South Florida administrators are hearing student voices loud and clear. They've held protests and signed petitions to get the school's popular 24-5 program reinstated. For the last three years, USF has kept the library open 25 hours a day, Sunday through Thursday. The school funded the program with cash reserves.

"It was never a funded, budgeted item," said Thomas Miller, interim vice president for student affairs. "It was a service first requested by student government."

Miller said the school doesn't think it's fiscally responsible to continue to pay for the program with cash reserves, but students who protested outside the library have said extended hours have become a necessity.

"We need our library hours, it's crucial to academic success," said sophomore Melissa Garzon. "People work in the day. People have other classes in the day."

Miller said the administration is hearing these students' voices. The school is exploring ways to collaborate across the university to make this happen.

"I think it's wonderful that our students lobby for studying activities because there are areas where students argue for things that might be a little more trivial," Miller said.

It will cost USF $136,000 to hire two over night librarians and a security guard. There are extra costs associated with utilities. Between 500 and 600 students used the extended hours every night.

Miller said he has met with student government leaders.  They are looking at the budget for ways to make it feasible for them to help with the cost. The student government collects activity and service fees, but in their opinion it isn't appropriate to use those fees for academics.

But Miller hopes the administration and student government can reach an agreement soon. He'd like to see the library hours restore within the next three weeks, in time for students the use the late night hours to study for mid-term exams.

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