Three months after its grand reopening, Newell Hall will be UF’s one and only 24/7 study center.
Library West, which was open 24/7 last year, will operate as a 24/5 library come Fall.
Student Government told the university that it doesn’t have enough funding to keep both Library West and Newell Hall open 24/7 next semester, UF spokesperson Margot Winick wrote in an email Tuesday.
Student Body President Smith Meyers said when SG approved the decision, the intention wasn’t to choose Newell Hall over Library West but rather to take time to gauge students’ opinions.
Starting in Fall, SG will survey students at Library West, Marston Science Library and Newell Hall to ask in which facility they prefer to study and spend time. Meyers said the survey is part of a “pilot” program with the provost’s office.
“We do realize that students need to have a say in this matter,” Meyers said. “That’s why we’re launching the pilot program.”
SG did not have the $331,140 required to keep both Library West and Newell Hall open 24/7 for Fall and Spring, Meyers said. Because of that, SG chose the cheaper move and adjusted Library West’s hours.
The cost to keep Newell Hall open 24/7 for the year is $198,140, of which Meyers said SG pays about 37 percent. The other 63 percent comes from a 10-cent charge each student pays per credit hour.
Keeping Library West open 24/5 in Fall alone costs about $50,000, Winick said.
After collecting its student-survey data, SG will convene in November with officials from both of UF’s libraries and the Office of the Provost to decide whether they will put more money toward Library West in the Spring, Meyers said.
“We’re going to use that information to make the most responsible decision possible for what to allocate our resources toward in the future,” Meyers said.
Winick said SG kept enough library funding for Library West to be 24/7 in Fall during the week leading up to reading days, reading days themselves and the final exam period.
For some students, the adjustment will be an inconvenience.
Nineteen-year-old Matthew Burnette said Library West has a special place in his heart.
The library saved his life back in April after he spilled Diet Pepsi on his laptop, Burnette said. Without Library West’s computers on the second floor, the UF public relations sophomore said he wouldn’t have been able to complete his taxes before April 15.
“I tried going to Newell, but it just wasn’t a good spot for plain-old use,” Burnette said. “I like being able to just sit there and do my work, and you really don’t get that with Newell Hall when you’re alone because it’s just loud all over the place.”
Burnette said he’s aware that some of the things he loves about Library West — individual desks, quiet areas, computers and Starbucks coffee runs — exist at Marston, but that at the end of the day, his loyalty lies with Library West.
“Marston smells like wet duck,” Burnette said. “I’ve been to Marston twice, and it was because I was meeting some people up, and they insisted on Marston.”