Hale Library to decrease hours after budget cuts

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Sitting in one of the alcoves outside Hale Library on Aug. 22, 2016, Jake Stegall, sophomore in English literature, works on his homework. Many students have counted on Hale’s late hours in the past, but that service will no longer be available since Hale will close at midnight at the latest starting this semester. (Mason Swenson | The Collegian)

Kansas State announced Friday that Hale Library will no longer be open 24 hours during the regular school year.

The decrease in hours comes after university-wide budget cuts caused Hale to lose almost a million dollars in general funding over the past two years. The same cuts also contributed to the 5.8 percent increase to student tuition for the 2016 fiscal year.

The cut in hours is expected to save Hale $110,000 annually.

Hale will open at 7:30 a.m. every weekday and close at midnight, except for Fridays when it will close at 8 p.m. The library help desk will be open weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. except for Fridays when it closes at 8 p.m.

The library will open at 1 p.m. on weekends and close at 6 p.m. on Saturdays and midnight on Sundays. The help desk will be open during all Saturday hours but will close at 10 p.m. on Sundays.

On Monday, Jessica Van Ranken, student body president and senior in political science, and Trenton Kennedy, vice president and junior in entrepreneurship, released a joint statement concerning the change.

“As student leaders, we share the sentiments of many of our peers who feel disappointed in this announcement,” the statement said. “Hale Library has long been a cornerstone of the student experience at Kansas State. It has provided a safe and comfortable environment with important resources for students from all walks of life to study, collaborate and engage.”

Van Ranken and Kennedy also acknowledged the budgetary issues the university has faced—which forced the library’s hand in changing its hours—but still expressed their disappointment in the outcome.

“As student leaders, we remain committed to working together to improve this unfortunate environment,” the statement said. “We are disheartened to hear of the library’s reduced hours and intend to work with university leaders to ensure this is not a permanent change.”

Adam Carr, sophomore in human resources and library help desk employee, said while Hale’s hours are changing, student employee work hours will remain consistent thanks to the help desk opening earlier and closing later than it did in past semesters.

The more difficult challenge of the cuts, Carr said, is making sure that everyone on campus knows about the changes.

“The hardest part of the transition is just getting everyone up to date on the new hours,” Carr said. “I think there might be some confusion at the start of the semester.”

And while the library as a whole will be closed, several services will still be available despite the curtailed hours.

Those services include the “Ask a Librarian” service, which will still be staffed for more than 80 hours a week. The Anita C. Lehner 24 hour Study Area, which is located on the first floor, will also remain open. It contains six computers and a printer. All online resources will still be available all day, every day.

Hale will remain open 24 hours throughout both dead week and finals week.

In addition to the decrease in hours, Hale is also cutting a few research materials by discontinuing several journal subscriptions as the costs of those subscriptions have increased more than 21 percent since 2010.

The library first moved toward being open 24/7 on Oct. 3, 2006. At the time, the hours were extended because of the influx of traffic Hale received between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. according to a July 16 article in the Collegian.

At the time, the two biggest expected expenses were custodial and security costs, the same two expenses cited in Friday’s press release for the reduction of hours.

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Tim Everson was born in Wichita, KS in 1994. Before fifth grade he moved up to Manhattan for one year before settling in Riley, KS where he graduated from Riley County High School in 2012. Tim has worked for the Collegian since spring of 2014 and took over as Sports Editor during the summer of 2015. Tim loves sports, music, movies and good food when he can get it.