The James Joyce library is to reopen on Sundays, having only been open six days a week for the majority of last semester. It follows a high profile campaign led by UCD Students’ Union representatives last semester to achieve a commitment from the University to Sunday openings.
Through its website, library authorities confirmed that opening hours are to be extended to include Sundays, between the hours of 10am and 9pm. This is to take effect from the second week of term, Sunday February 3rd, as internal recruitment is to take place on January 27th. Provisions have been made to continue these opening hours for the next four years, subject to future economic considerations. Other UCD libraries remain closed on Sundays.
“Provisions have been made for the Library to have Sunday opening-hours during semester. This will continue for those students who wish to avail of it for as long as funding is available,” says a UCD spokesperson.
The cost of opening the library on a Sunday amounts to €1,400 per Sunday, which is €14,400 per semester. UCD Education Officer Shane Comer welcomed the decision, commenting: “This is a brilliant development for UCD students. The cost of running a Sunday is easily justified when one looks at the numbers who use it”.
This extension in opening hours is the result of negotiations between student union representatives, library representatives and the registrar’s office. Sunday opening hours had been in place since 2010, but the number of Sundays was reduced unexpectedly last semester. The rationale for the closures had been the comparatively lower numbers using the library on a Sunday and the difficult economic climate.
However the Students’ Union believes that this won’t be a problem this semester, with UCDSU President Rachel Breslin explaining: “I think the number of students who realised this year once it was gone the difference that it made to their studying timetable will show that the numbers are high, will result in high numbers this year and that is what will encourage them to keep it open after this semester.”
The Students’ Union ran an intensive campaign before Christmas that included a protest, petitions and mobilising the student population through the use of social media. The protest, which involved placing 600 chairs in lines outside the library, was the most noticeable of the activities, with each chair representing a student who had lost the Sunday service over the previous six weeks. Comer believes that it was this protest which gained the support of support staff and academics.
The news comes as the library prepares to open the Cube, a collaborative learning facility on level one.