For the first time in Imperial College history, the Central Library will continue its 24-hour opening times throughout the summer holidays. Imperial College has decided to keep its library door open to students who wish to use the library, starting from 30 June through until 30 September.
In previous years, the 24-hour opening policy would usually cease by the end of June. The new opening hours this year means that students will be able to use the library as they please, with the library only closing at 11pm on a Friday night until 10am on Saturday morning. The Library Café will also remain open in accordance to the summer opening hours but will be closed on Sundays throughout the holidays.
The main body of students intended to make use of the extended opening hours will be postgraduates who will be on campus over the holidays. Other targets include Master students, MBA students from the Business School and anyone who would potentially want to use the library over the summer.
Postgraduate student Sajjad Jaffer was wary of the new hours, telling Felix of his belief that “there aren’t many moments when you have to go to the library that late at night as a postgraduate”. He also added that “everything is online anyway like journals and books. You can use the VPN network to connect your home computer to the Imperial Network so you don’t need to go to the Library to get anything done”.
Director of Library Services, Deborah Shorley, told Felix instead of the benefits that she believes the scheme will bring, saying that library staff were “particularly conscious because of the Olympics and the disruption it would cause across town.
“Students such as postgraduates will find it hard to find a quiet place to work and so we are going to offer them a haven to work in regardless of the chaos that is happening outside.”
She continued: “what students want is a place to sit, a place to work and a place with a computer space. They don’t want complicated reference support all the time. We believe it will be cost effective and since this is a pilot we cannot be sure if it is really used or not until we try it – if it isn’t then we won’t do it again.”
She also said that some postgraduates do not use their offices to work: “we’ve learnt that students want to work in different ways and our aim is to give students as many different ways as we can by offering options such as different spaces in the library and quicker access to resources.”
She concluded: “When presented to the Student’s Union, the response was overwhelmingly positive. The Union has nominated us for the “Outstanding Library Team” award for the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards and we are very proud of this and how much they appreciate our library hours.”
“It’s lovely to be nominated by the students. That is very important to us because we only exist as a service; we think this is another step to giving students more of what they want.”