Despite being a publicly funded institution with more than 30,000 students, UVU’s library is closed on Sundays. It is the only library at a public university in Utah that is not open to students seven days a week. However, the library administration is investigating the possibility of extending the hours of operation to include Sundays.
“We are in the process of looking at our data and comparing us to the other schools in the state and looking at our traffic to see, as an overall package, what our library hours should be,” said Lesli Baker, library director.
It seems that UVU students are at a disadvantage by not having access to the library on Sundays. It is a day in which many students catch up on studying and homework – especially nontraditional students or students who work full–time during the week.
“Nontraditional students appear more likely to require the availability of library assistance during the weekends, when many of these students are working on their assignments,” wrote Lizah Ismail in an article published in the Journal of Academic Librarianship.
About one third of UVU’s enrollment is nontraditional students. There are nearly 1,500 students enrolled in weekend classes and almost 9,000 students enrolled in evening classes.
“Our population on campus is changing, and we need to meet their needs,” said Baker. “Our hours should come from a discussion of everyone that it effects. We really want to be open for the students when the need us to be.”
For this to happen there are bureaucratic hoops that Baker and her staff must jump through, such as requesting additional funding to heat and cool the building and to compensate various library, custodial, and maintenance employees.
Before making the move from the Losee Center to the current Library Building in 2008, the facility was open on Sunday. However, hours were changed due to low rates of attendance. In 2009, the library became available to students on the two Sundays preceding finals week, and many students took advantage of the extra hours.
The library administration reported that an average of 462 patrons visited the library on the two Sundays before finals week during fall 2015. That is only slightly lower than the fall 2015 Saturday average of 525 patrons.
If all goes according to plan, the library administration will make a proposal at the planning, budget, and assessment cycle (PBA) for the 2016-2017 school year to request funding, which would mean the new hours could take effect for the 2017-2018 school year.
“We are really committed to making it happen,” said Dustin Fife, a librarian at UVU.