Library Hours Next Year

And speaking of budget cuts… John Palfrey and the library administration are looking at making some possible adjustments to the library hours next year.  Adjusting library hours would save money both in staffing costs and utilities’ costs.  Throughout the process, members of the library administration have sought feedback from students about the potential cuts, and we are posting now to get more feedback for them regarding your thoughts or concerns about the potential cuts.

The adjustments that are being considered are:

  • Rolling the closing time back from 2am to midnight
  • Pushing up the opening time from 7am to 9am
  • Canceling the extended summer hours during the Bar exam study period.  If this is done, however, the school would likely open another quiet, air conditioned study area in this period, e.g. a classroom or two.

Note, at this time, they do not appear to be considering adjusting the 24 hour access during the finals reading period.

What are your thoughts about these adjustments, alternative adjustments that could be made, or any other concerns you can think of?


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  1. Aother Brian

    April 28, 2009 @ 6:05 pm


    Generally speaking, people can find other places to study early in the morning, but have a harder time at night. I would suggest you move opening from 7am to 9am before you roll the closing time from 2am to midnight.

  2. RH

    April 28, 2009 @ 8:26 pm


    I agree!

  3. Rob

    April 28, 2009 @ 9:08 pm


    Cut staff not hours.

    Very few people are checking out books or using the reference librarians or anything like that late at night. What we want is the study environment, not the research capabilities of the library.

    So, what you should do is only keep research staff during peak hours. Other times, don’t let anyone check out books or have access to librarians.

    If you do that, you can cut the staff down to a security guard or two who can call HUPD if there is any incident.

  4. a 1L

    April 28, 2009 @ 9:20 pm


    I would vote for 7-midnight. I’m much more productive at night at home than in the mornings.

  5. 1L

    April 28, 2009 @ 9:45 pm


    I would disagree. I think that generally, difficult times to find somewhere to study and last-minute printing occurs early in the morning. Late at night, students are more likely to study in their rooms than stay in the library and walk back to their homes at 2am. Also, students who live off-campus are more likely to come to campus early to study than to stay as late as 2am. I’d really encourage keeping the opening time at 7am and possibly moving up the closing time.

  6. Alan Cliff

    April 28, 2009 @ 10:13 pm


    I would prefer 8AM – 1AM over 7:00-midnight or 9:00-2:00. I suspect that 7-8 and 1-2 are not as popular as 8-9 and 12-1.

    If we want to maximize the number of hours that study space is available while reducing staffing costs, might it be possible to close the international law library earlier than we currently do (say, 10, instead of midnight), and keep Langdell open ’til 2? Are there statistics on how many people are checking out books late at night, as opposed to studying?

    It might also be worth looking at coordinating hours with the Harvard College libraries. I know lots of 1Ls studied in Lamont in January when Langdell was closed. If Lamont and Cabot are cutting hours as well, it might be good to make sure that the cuts are complementary.

    How do the marginal costs of keeping the Hark open for an extra couple of hours compare to the costs of keeping Langdell open?

  7. 2L

    April 28, 2009 @ 10:25 pm


    Because classes start at 8am, I think it would be beneficial to have the library open beginning then.

  8. Mary

    April 29, 2009 @ 2:07 pm


    I often have to print things in the mornings before class. If we have to cut library hours, please let it be the late hours rather than the early ones.

  9. 2L

    April 29, 2009 @ 5:23 pm


    I’d prefer you cut early hours. Second preference is a compromise position — 8 am to 1 am.

  10. John Palfrey

    April 29, 2009 @ 10:48 pm


    Hi all:

    Thanks so much for taking the time to provide this feedback, and to Brian for soliciting it. These are hard decisions, not being taken lightly.

    For further context, in addition to considering these hours reductions, we are looking at major cuts in the staffing levels at least for the near term (we are down from about 100 to 85 staff at present) and in our collections budget (what we spend on materials, including books and electronic resources). We are also looking at combining the ILS library desks (reference and circulation) with the Langdell desks. Pretty much everything is on the table for consideration, but we have not finalized anything yet.

    Again, thank you.

    John Palfrey

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