Longer Library Hours Is a Must

Photo courtesy of Smith.edu | Students seeking a focused study space wish for longer library hours.

Photo courtesy of Smith.edu | Students seeking a focused study space wish for longer library hours.


Michelle S. Lee ’16
Assistant Opinions Editor

Recently I stayed over at a friend’s school in New York City, who unfortunately was taking a midterm the following Thursday. As a result, she ended up spending a lot of time at the library. She informed me that her school’s main library, however, was open 24 hours, and she was surprised to hear the latest ours ever went was until 2am during reading period. The library was the only place she could really study, and the thought of being unable to do that late at night was genuinely puzzling to her.

That was the third time it occurred to me  that Smith didn’t have a designated place for students to study in after, say, 1 a.m. The first time was during a college visit in April when I read a brochure on Neilson Library – does it really close that early? I passed it off tangential because I wasn’t going to let library hours determine my college of choice.

The second time was during finals period a year later. I had decided to study in our house’s living room, which has a great ambience but unfortunate not the brightest lighting. Despite this, I had little other areas to study in. Around 5am during my third all-nighter of exam period, I couldn’t do it anymore. I did what every other Smithie would do. Instagram my pain, and unwittingly fall asleep. Only an hour later did I wake up to the sound of our housekeeper apologetically kicking me out of the living room because she had to clean the room and couldn’t have a student studying, never mind lamenting her mental exhaustion, aka snoozing on the couch, while she cleaned.

As fondly remembered as these moments are, it did lead me to wonder – why don’t we have longer library hours? The truth is, it really would be very nice to have the library open when I’m studying for an exam and can’t afford to get distracted by the plethora of amusing procrastination activities waiting to be discovered in my dorm room.  It would be great to have a study space period, actually. Areas in the house don’t add up to the same scholarly motivation as a decent desk and chair in a solid academic space would.

Let’s look at the other five colleges. At the very least, Mount Holyoke is open an hour longer than us on weekdays and definitely on weekends. Amherst has a 24 hour library open for reading period, and of course, UMass has longer hours than us (we do beat Hampshire, though.) Though it’s to be expected of larger schools, why does Smith, unlike some other liberal arts colleges in the valley, not have the resources to be open a little longer?

Of course, logistics are hard to change in such an established system that hasn’t drawn up any major concerns. But that doesn’t automatically nullify the fact that there can be a sea of minor concerns that could ultimately be passed on, or improved on. All I know is, I hope we as a general community can bring light to little issues such as these to continue bettering a school so devoted to education and potential.


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