Daily Archives: June 15, 2006

You Only Hurt The Ones You Love

And whose LIBQUAL+ feedback you heed . . .

If there is one request that I have seen from students in every user survey to which I have ever been privy, it is the request for more hours. Here at Kansas, we have two 24-hour facilities, and our feedback from students remains: “More hours at Watson Library” (one of the two that is not already 24-hour).

Now, on the other side, today’s Inside Higher Education reports on the concerns of campus health care professionals, who worry that 24/7 access to libraries and computer labs may result in increased physical and mental health problems among students due to lack of sleep. It’s an interesting argument, but it seems to me that I spent plenty of nights in college not getting enough sleep even before libraries were 24/7 and, yes, before the World Wide Web!

I’m not sure how this is our fault.

Other reasons to stay up all night that are perfectly legitimate: (1) being involved in theatre (my college pre-occupation; rehearsals and tech calls routinely lasted until 3 am); (2) working (more and more students have to work 20+ hours/week to afford college – see this week’s CHE – my first job in college was working library security from 12-3 am); (3) being involved in undergraduate research, esp. bench science (those experiments often have to be checked regularly all night long; hence the long-time call for 24-hour science libraries); and (4) being a student in Engineering or Architecture (I don’t know why, but those students are always up all night working on projects).

There are some good opportunities for collaboration here, though, around real Information Age health issues, e.g., repetitive movement disorders, Internet (now video poker) addiction (see last week’s story in the NYT Magazine), etc., but I don’t see them shutting down the libraries or labs, and I don’t see them turning off wireless access to the residence halls after 10 pm.