Langara library closes earlier than students’ books

Students say they want longer library hours to keep up with studies


By Marco Shum

Despite students’ demand, the library still has no plans in extending their operating hours.

Wyatt Orbeil, a second-year student in the recreation studies program at the college, was frustrated when he was recently told to pack up and leave the library while he was working on a deadline.

“It doesn’t cost a lot to keep the space open and available for students longer. Instead, it creates more frustration where many other post-secondary institutions are actually open 24/7 for students to be able to work and study,” Orbeil said.

It’s all based on demand

From Monday to Thursday, the library is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., on Friday. On weekends, it’s open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The campus closes at 10 p.m. from Monday to Friday, and 7 p.m. on weekends.

The Voice informally surveyed 30 students at the library last week on library hours, and more than two-thirds of those surveyed said they wanted longer hours.

Debbie Schachter, interim director of the library, said the operating hours are based on demand and they had provided the extension of hours before, but “the space was not being utilised.”

Schachter said the staff walk around the library at closing time and count the number of students still using it.

“It is all based on the evidence of use,” she said.

Dan Slessor, a Langara librarian, said that the shorter hours during the weekend are due to lower demand, which is counted at the gate.

“We know from these statistics that the library is very quiet in the early morning and late evening. Informal discussions with staff members who do regular walkthroughs of our building confirm this,” Slessor said.

During the exam periods from 2017 to 2019, the library extended its opening by one hour. Schachter said that the library is pleased to be busy again if the demand aligns with the initiative.

And the demand keeps increasing

Library hours have been repeatedly discussed by students at the college board of governors.

Maria Alonso Villela, an international student and student representative on the board, said that considering the tuition fees that students pay, they are not getting a return on services and has made expanding the library hours for students her mission at board meetings.

“They did listen, and we sometimes discussed it for a few minutes, but it never had the relevance compared to other issues,” Alonso Villela said.

Langara College library statistics show the library had 87,417 visits in September and 102,184 in October. The number of visitors increased by almost 10,000 people when compared with the same months in pre-pandemic years.

Kirsten Chan, an associate director of finance and purchasing for the college, said in an email that the major costs of the library include supplies, subscription fees and staff costs.

The library did not provide information on its operating costs.

Daniela Matheu, an internet and web technology student, said the library is always full due to the return of in-person teaching.

“They can ask more students, they will be surprised how many people actually need to use the library in our extended schedule,” Matheu said. “Maybe they just didn’t consider it because they don’t really know how many people need it.”

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