STAFF EDITORIAL: Extend Memorial Library’s hours until 2 a.m.

Memorial Library should provide students more uninterrupted study time and more table space by staying open until 2 a.m.

Memorial’s 11:30 p.m. closing time forces students to find a whole new study spot at an hour when studiers have their noses to the grindstone. Moving breaks concentration and is an inconvenience.

With midterms approaching, classes become more demanding with exams, projects and papers, and more students need a quiet space in the library to study late and complete their work.

However, quiet studying areas with ample table space are limited on campus.

Underclassmen have designated study areas in their residence halls, but these rooms are often used for group projects and socializing rather than studying in silence.

Cudahy remains open 24 hours, but it has more couches and chairs than table space to do homework.

Marquette Place stays open until 2 a.m. for students to study, but like the Bridge, some students find it distracting to focus in a noisy area.

Commuter students are just as frustrated finding a place to study as students who live on campus.They have access to the Commuter Lounge in the Alumni Memorial Union, but it closes at midnight when the building closes.

Commuters who don’t like studying at home come to the library instead.

For students who can’t study with background noise, the Bridge isn’t a viable option, so they must search for one of the few tables in Raynor when Memorial closes.

Raynor and the Bridge have a total capacity of 1,108 seats, but this figure does not include table space.

Janice Welburn, dean of libraries, said Memorial closes before 2 a.m. because the library doesn’t have the staff to monitor six floors after 11:30 p.m.

Welburn said her statistics show a low demand for extended library hours.

While numbers point to a low demand by students who would use Memorial until 2 a.m., some might leave at 11:30 p.m. because they know they can’t find a spot in Raynor and go home instead.

Susan Hopwood, outreach librarian, said keeping six floors open in Memorial is too much space to patrol and presents a security issue.

Perhaps the library could hire another DPS officer, in addition to the one working in Raynor, to keep certain floors of Memorial open until 2 a.m., providing more table space for students.

Or, the library could hire two student employees to work on the designated floors of Memorial until 2 a.m.

We appreciate the library’s efforts to accommodate students during finals week with extended hours.

But students need the same level of access throughout the school year.

The library should find a way to prolong hours and study space for students.