Second semester cutbacks in library hours unlikely

OPENING hours in the James Joyce Library are likely to remain unchanged in the second semester, despite early concerns that hours may be cut in order to achieve a decrease in university spending, The University Observer has learned.Positive about discussions between students and the university, Students’ Union (SU) Education Officer, Paul Lynam said he was “optimistic” that the library opening hours would continue as normal next semester adding that he feels it is not “logical to make cutbacks.”According to Mr Lynam, the university considered reducing the opening hours of the library for financial reasons. He said that although he could not reveal the exact costs involved, he doesn’t “believe the money saved [by reducing the opening hours] would justify any cutbacks.”Mr Lynam said that the students have opposed plans to reduce the library's opening hours and will continue to do so. “I think maintaining these hours after this semester is obviously a lobbying effort and in semester two [it will be] again.”Mr Lynam acknowledged that if any further cut backs to library services are proposed, the SU will consider launching a campaign against them. “Our opposition has been verbal so far and we have been in every single meeting so far. But I think it would turn into more of a campaign should anything be proposed.” Mr Lynam stated that retaining the opening hours of the library is the number one priority for the SU.Stressing that “it’s thinking outside the box which is important”, when attempting to curtail university spending, Mr Lynam suggested an alternative way to save money rather than reducing the opening hours. “If for instance at ten o'clock the library is quiet which we see that it sometimes can be, I don't think it necessarily important to leave open all three floors. And that could save some money”.Mr Lynam stressed the importance of retaining the current opening hours, citing the importance they have for evening students, students engaged in extra-curricular activities and those living on campus.The introduction of a 24-hour library service is an “ambition”, of Mr Lynam’s, which he believes he shares with UCD President, Dr Hugh Brady. “I think it's a long term plan to have a 24-hour library… it's in [UCD President] Dr Hugh Brady’s long term ambition.” However, it is doubtful that there are plans to run such a service in the near future, as “we have a very difficult year, the fact is that the university has millions of euro less than it did last year.”It is believed that the university will retain the current opening hours of the James Joyce Library, however a UCD spokesperson stated that “no final decisions have been made”. The spokesperson added that “library services are a priority for UCD staff and students. In the current environment, various possible cost-saving and income-generating measures are being considered”.The university proposed to shorten library opening hours in 2003, which students responded to by staging a sit-in in the James Joyce Library. The library is currently open until midnight in the weeks coming up to exams.