By Ben Schafer and Iva Radman
Richmond VA.–With the recent economic downturn it would seem no one is immune to budget cuts, not even the VCU libraries like James Branch Cabell and Tompkins McCaw.
VCU has been offering the 24/5 service, also known as “library light all night,” since 2004 and was in jeopardy of losing it this fall due to the University’s budget cuts.
Overnight library hours are a rare commodity for any university, and VCU’s 24/5 (that’s 24 hours, five days a week) during final exams is no exception. VCU is one of only 4 libraries in Virginia that offers any 24 hour service second only to UVA whose hours are year round.
University Librarian John Ulmschneider says “The university is focused on keeping the core services for the students particularly, keeping access to classes, keeping instructors available so that you and your colleagues can graduate on time and have the classes that you need. The reductions to the library have been no different really than anyone else, less than some, more than others but I think appropriate.”
Fortunately for students Ulmschneider and the libraries staff were able to restore the program in the 11th hour, announcing their return just two weeks before exams. And why were they able to salvage the hours? Ulmschneider says it was because of unexpected staff resignations and the help of VCU police who were able to provide guards.
This is good news for students many of whom feel the 24/5 program is a necessary one.
“I thought it was a really horrible idea cause I know I use it a lot and me and my friends come here and sometimes well just pull an all-nighter before an exam,” said Sophomore Cathy Kitchens.
It is a luxury that some students couldn’t do without and a few even feel is their right.
“I feel as like it kind of should be implemented throughout the entire school year,” said Freshman Miracle Allums.
As we reported earlier in the semester the VCU libraries are among the largest in the state, with the fifth largest comic book collection in the world. This year they celebrated the collection of their two millionth volume when they acquired Amazing Spiderman issue 508, featuring President Obama.