All-hours lab will be beneficial to students

By Kaylyn Zielinski

The university is finally working on plans for a 24 hour lab, an action that shows NIU cares about students’ studying concerns.

Between limited library hours and noisy roommates, it’s hard to find somewhere besides Barsema Hall to study after hours. NIU has listened to students’ concerns and has been talking about creating a 24-hour lab; however there have been financial drawbacks, said Rosanne Cordell, assistant dean for Public Services.

“[Founders Memorial Library] would like to open a 24-hour student learning space, but we don’t have the financial resources to do that so at this point, those ideas are on hold, and I’m not sure what we are going to do with space we have available,” Cordell said.

Patrick Dawson, NIU Dean of Libraries, said the space set aside for the 24-hour lab is now being used for storage until the library can find a donor. Dawson said there is a committee looking into the 24 hour lab now and it hopes to open the lab by 2016.

Other universities have allowed students to use 24-hour labs in their libraries. The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire had a 24-hour lab in previous semesters, though it recently closed. John Pollitz, UW-Eau Claire’s director of Libraries, said they closed the lab to open a student helpdesk, but there was backlash from students after closing it.

“When they closed [the lab] our students have been very upset. What’s fortunate is that we have another space in the library that’s open 24 hours so we put some of [the computers from the pre-existing 24-hour lab] in that new space.”

UW- Eau Claire’s library is open from 7:30 a.m. to 1 a.m., and outside of those times students had to swipe their student ID card for the doors to unlock to get to the 24 hour lab.

The Founders’ Memorial Library is only open until midnight, besides its extended hours for midterm week Oct. 11 through Oct. 16.

Jennalyn Hernaez, senior rehabilitation services major, said if the university opened a 24-hour lab, she would be there all the time. Hernaez has had exams the weeks before and after the official midterm week.

“People have midterms before and after this week so it’s not really fair,” Hernaez said. “[Students] can only go to Barsema [Hall], but Barsema is packed as well.”

Midterms and finals aren’t the only time students have exams, papers and projects. The university opening a 24-hour lab would help students out year-round.

“Upperclassmen would really appreciate [a 24-hour lab] because we are always studying, and it’s kind of hard to find a place to study here because the only time the school offers late-night studying is midterm and finals week,” Hernaez said.

Pollitz said the cost of running the 24-hour lab was low because they didn’t have to pay people to work there, but Dawson said to open a 24-hour lab at NIU, there would “definitely need to be security.” He said he’d want the lab to be accessible only to students with OneCards.

It may be a while before a 24-hour lab gets up and running but at least the university is looking into it.