Standing room only during library peak hours
In 2010, the Walsh Library went from being the campus’ only building open 24 hours a day to closing at around 1 a.m. Monday through Friday with fewer hours on the weekend.
Despite the cutbacks, the facility has remained a favorite spot for students on campus, according to 12-year catalog coordinator Marta Deyrup.
“We have such a focus on technology that students come here more and more to get guidance on how to use it,” Deyrup said.
According to Deyrup, many students come to the library in order to speak to librarians about how to properly manage and understand the databases available.
Dean of Libraries Chrysanthy Grieco said the hours were reduced because the cost of keeping the library open was too high.
“We had to cut hours due to the economic downturns and the lack of funding for the necessary staff at all hours of the night,” Grieco said. “But even without that, we are in an academic world and this is the hub of that.”
According to Grieco, peak library hours start daily around noon and do not taper off until later in the evening when commuters are no longer on campus.
“We have a lot of commuters who use this as a space while they are on campus between classes but this is also a very open library,” Grieco said. “We have a lot of graduate students on the weekends and members of the Essex County and South Orange community as well.”
Senior Kelsey Coolidge said that she likes to come to the library because “it is generally the most peaceful place on campus to study.”
“I think the library is appealing to students because there are few distractions to keep them from their work,” Coolidge said. “It’s a space where nothing, other than yourself and the Internet can keep you from studying. I think there’s also a concept that the library is where you go to do work.”
While Coolidge said her motivation for visiting the library was mostly individual, reference librarian John Irwin said that the library also provides a place where students could do group work, something that he said “really contributes” to its popularity and how busy it is.
“It gives them a place to do group work,” Irwin said. “We are able to provide a sense of community and unity with the library. It is the heart of the campus.”
Alyana Alfaro can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.