Once upon a summer afternoon, GW students saw on Overheard at GW that Gelman Library would shorten its weekend hours and would no longer be open 24/7. Immediately, cries of “you mean we have to leave the library on a Saturday night and live our lives?!” and total social media outrage ensued. But let’s be real, we’ve all been in the library at an ungodly hours. However, in classic GW form, a petition was created less than three hours later and has been signed by almost 2,000 students. Apparently we do love our 24 hour libraries as much as we love our online petitions.
I’m sure most of these signatories were thinking the same things as me: Where am I supposed to go now when I get sexiled? You mean I can’t pass out on the fifth floor couches after smoking a few bowls? Or where else can I have “access to print and online resources, computers with valuable software, printers, scanners, copiers, and – most importantly – a reliably comfortable workspace uniquely conducive to effective work,” as stated in the petition. Personally, I’ve never used a scanner at the library, but people do use them. Junior Calla Flood Tardino said “I’ve the scanners once or twice for my internship.” To announce such as drastic cut on Gelman operations, even this attempt at cutting back hours, clearly riled everyone up.
Aside from that “voluntary” library gift that everyone struggles to get rid of, the administration has indicated that they wished to increase Gelman’s fiscal budget and funding over time, like the $336,560 increase for fiscal year 2015. It has been unclear as to why the Gelman hours were reduced, though it’s not entirely unexpected when the administration is in a budget crunch. This reduction in hours might have been in response to the budget shortfall, but the reasoning behind the sudden change was not immediately clear. Perhaps some prior notice or a trial run would have stemmed the flow of criticism from students and parents.
But not to worry, because one day after the initial announcement, Provost Lerman announced that Gelman 24/7 access would be maintained. In his curt and to-the-point message, there was no mention of any student involvement in the decision, only “operational efficiency.” It is clear that the public outcry was pressuring the administration to clarify their decision one way or another, and thankfully Gelman reverted to being a bastion of late-night pizza deliveries and study room searching. We all lived studied happily ever after. The end.
Musket Writer Sam Miller contributed to this article. Photo credits to Sam Miller, Comedy Central, Bob Karp, and BillyH