For as long as I can remember, I have been notorious among my friends for getting very little sleep. Just by scanning my face, my friends can tell if I’d have had less than five hours of sleep.
Although I will probably always be a night owl, I do not encourage this lifestyle. Sleep is, after all, incredibly important to our physical, mental, and emotional health. But as much as I try to keep up with my work, it can be difficult, especially at a place like the 5Cs, to prioritize sleep over our other academic, extracurricular, and social commitments.
The Honnold/Mudd Library has the potential to be a haven for students like myself who need to be productive late at night. The library offers thousands of square feet of quiet, individual studying space, as well as rooms and resources for collaborative learning.
Regardless of what type of student you are, Honnold probably has a work environment to fit your studying style.
However, Honnold’s most significant drawback is its limited weekly hours of availability. Between Mondays and Thursdays, and on Sundays, the library is open until 1AM. It is even more restricted on Fridays and Saturdays, closing earlier at 10PM.
These hours are problematic because they do not accommodate for students who need to study later, due to busy schedules, classes that meet later at night, extracurricular activities, and of course, plain procrastination. In addition, these hours are not as useful for students who work multiple campus jobs or have off-campus internships and need to stay up later to complete assignments.
The library’s resources for group study are invaluable, but with these limited hours, Honnold does not make itself as accessible as it could be. Even though students do have the option to work in their own dorms, some dorms across the 5Cs are not the most conducive study spaces. Often, hallways are too loud for people who would like to study quietly in their rooms, and common rooms are filled with people who are studying quietly and are, therefore, not the best place to hold group study sessions.
The library is a useful alternative to dorms in that it accommodates for different study styles. The first floor provides more of a relaxed setting, where students can be louder and work in small groups, while the second, third, and fourth floors are more conducive for independent work. The second floor offers a Collaborative Connections space with large television screens that students can connect to their laptops for a more interactive learning experience.
In addition, interspersed within these quieter floors are four rooms equipped with whiteboards that students can reserve to study in groups. With all these wonderful options, it is unfortunate that Honnold’s hours inhibit students from taking full advantage of the library’s resources and study spaces.
Honnold’s limited hours could possibly be attributed to the consortium’s concern for students’ mental health. The concern could be posed that a 24-hour library only encourages students to unhealthily work into the night. However, the library’s closing at 1AM does not have an impact on the amount of work that I and other students have.
Its limited hours do not motivate me to work any faster, and they certainly do not change how late I will stay up to complete assignments. In fact, the library’s limited hours pose an inconvenience more than they encourage students to get work done more efficiently. If Honnold could stay open longer, students would no longer have to scour their campuses for better study spaces to fit their independent or group study needs.
Many university libraries across the country are open, or at least partially open, 24 hours a day. Although staffing the library and accommodating for the expenses of keeping it open at all times may pose a challenge to the administration, perhaps Honnold could stay open until 3AM or so.
Another option could involve only certain floors staying open, in order to lessen the burden of expenses. But regardless of which option the administration finds more convenient, action should be taken in order to ensure that students can take the most advantage of the library and resources provided to them.
Tiara Sharma SC '20 is from Braintree, Massachusetts. She intends on majoring in English and maybe politics.