After first being announced at the Big Student Debate a trial period of extended library opening hours began this week. Seemingly unannounced by the university, news spread quickly by word of mouth and via a facebook group.
Both Bedford and Founders Libraries will (for a five week trial period) be opening from 8:30am to 1am on weekdays and from 9am till 9pm on weekdays giving students an extra 24 hours each week for study. The result of continual pressure on the university to extent opening hours this extension marks an important first step towards the availability that so many students crave.
Currently running on a trial period, these extended hours will only become permanent if students use the extra hours however with end of term essay and dissertation deadlines fast approaching these extra hours should help. With Bedford library consistently full by midday each weekday, longer hours should take some of the pressure of study space that is all but stretched to its limits. With talk of plans to open up certain rooms around campus during exam period, genuine and beneficial efforts are being made to combat the problem of too many students and not enough desks.
Many Royal Holloway students have expressed a strong desire for 24-hour opening hours however concerns over student health and the cost of keeping a library staffed through the night have so far kept 24-hour opening from being considered. However with many other universities both above and below Royal Holloway in the league tables already keeping their libraries open through the night, increasing pressure on existing resources and growing student support hopefully it will not be too long before the contentious issue of libraries is opened up for renewed debate.