In the usual attempt to catch up with the ceaseless demands of the school curriculum, students seek asylum in the various libraries spread across the NUS campus, where the quiet spaces and optimal air-conditioned temperature seem to be the only enablers for their hustling spirit. However, the second semester of the 18/19 Academic Year witnessed notices in place for the shortening of library hours to 9pm on Mondays to Fridays from 1 Feb 2019 onwards, an hour earlier than the previous 10pm in most libraries.
In the previous semester, library opening hours were pinned at 8am to 10pm, with the exception of the Music Library at 8.30 am to 10pm. On weekends, most libraries are in operation, from 10am and 5pm and closed during other hours. During the reading weeks towards the end of the semester, 24 hour operations are also implemented, allowing students to use the libraries at all hours of the day, in preparation of their upcoming examinations.
At the Central Library, home to the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) book collections, a reading area on the 6th floor is designated for students to use the library’s 24 hour availability. With just a simple tap at the marked entrances, students can enter the library from the doors at the upper levels which are normally closed off access during opening hours.
While it may seem like a mere hour earlier to some, the shortened opening hours have raised concern in others. When asked about the news, Esther Lee, a Geography Year 3 student at FASS, shared how this new implementation would actually influence where she chooses to study.
“I was kind of disappointed. I’m rushing my assignments and have the habit of staying in school till 10pm. If the library closes, I have to leave earlier and I’m not productive at home. Maybe I will just sit at some outdoor place to study if I want to stay till 10pm and beyond because its hassle to leave and find a new place to sit down after that.”
In recent years, the school has done a push in creating more alternative study spaces to the library. With the renovation of various faculty corridors and open spaces, more tables and chairs were made available near the lecture theatres and classrooms. Recognising the addition of study options across campus, perhaps it makes sense that library hours are shortening, with the anticipated drop in demand for its quiet facilities. Nonetheless, albeit the diversification of study spots, there is still only one place students can gain access to books for their references and research, which has perhaps played second fiddle to the study uses of library for a while now.
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