As of Monday November 11th, the James Joyce Library will open at 7:00am and close at midnight from Monday to Friday to facilitate the increased traffic caused by students studying for the end of semester exams.
Additional opening hours in the library will also be supplemented by the return of the study area in the Astra Hall, which will be open until 3:00am every morning. This means that UCD students will have access to on-campus study areas for 20 hours per day.
UCD Students’ Union (UCDSU) President, Mícheál Gallagher, says this is a step in the right direction for the University’s vision that UCD “would have a 24-hour campus, and a 24-hour study facility should be part of that.”
Gallagher noted that close cooperation was necessary with the Director of Student Services and also the library staff on this initiative.
Over the past number of years, study facilities have been made available for extended hours in the lead up to exam periods. UCDSU General Manager, Philip Mudge, pointed out that despite this being an annual expectation of students doesn’t mean it extended hours can be guaranteed.
“[It is] important to acknowledge that just because something happens more than once, doesn’t mean it’s a done deal. Offices still have to go back year on year and say they still want this.”
Gallagher continued to stress that the “strategic vision” of UCD as a global university “needs a 24-hour study area. We’re not there yet” but the Union and the University continues to work towards this.
Though there is no official Union policy on the issue, Gallagher believes that bringing UCD to this global mark may need such a 24-hour space available year round, not just during exam times. This would bring UCD in line with other Irish universities; such as Trinity College Dublin (TCD) which maintains two 24-hour facilities on its campus, which only close over the Christmas break.
Mudge noted that the need for study space being made available on a more continuous basis was not just to do with the global image of UCD. He said that the university, “needs to move to a situation where no one is disadvantaged, where they don’t have facilities at home” where they can study.
He acknowledges that some people do have “facilities as good as the library” but there are others who “can’t access or afford” much more basic set ups at home where conditions for study may not be ideal. “[The] principle of access to education is that everyone should have the right to get the best degree they can and therefore the facilities have to be provided.”