Library extends study

The Chester Fritz Library will stay open later on Fridays and Saturdays starting this semester.

The Chester Fritz Library, which will now be open later on weekends. Photo by Jennifer Friese/The Dakota Student.

Students at UND will now have the option to squeeze in more study time at the Chester Fritz Library following a recent change in library hours.

The Chester Fritz library is now open Friday from 7:45 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.  Prior to the change, the library closed at 4:30 p.m. on Fridays and was open from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.  Student requests promoted the change in hours.

“We are hopeful this will meet student needs and are excited that students want more hours, and hopefully students will utilize the new hours so that we can keep them,” Director of Libraries Wilbur Stolt said.

In a Tuesday Twos email, Student Government asked students if the Chester Fritz Library should extend weekend hours, and 86 percent of the 1,000 students that responded said yes.

“I first noticed the problem personally,” Greek Housing Senator Molly Burke said. “As a senator and president of my sorority, I don’t have much free time during the week to work on homework, so I do most of my homework on the weekends. I began asking around about what other people thought and they said that they too were surprised with how few hours we had at such a large institution.”

Burke, who was the senator that helped make the extension possible, said she attends weekly or bi-weekly meetings for Greek Council, Intrafraternal Council, Panhellenic Council and Greek Presidents Roundtable meetings and the members of those councils informed her that this was also a concern for them and that they would greatly support increasing library hours.

Last summer, student body president Nick Creamer and vice president Lexi Hanson met with Stolt and proposed the idea that students wanted extended weekend hours at the Chester Fritz Library.

Senator Burke took the lead of the issue in student government and worked with Stolt while he worked with Provost Thomas DiLorenzo and Assistant Dean of Students for Student Involvement and Leadership Cassie Gerhardt.  The extension was finalized when the Provost Office agreed to fund the extended hours.

“I think it is a fantastic step in the right direction.  I’m thankful for the Provost office and for Senator Burkes hard work,” student body president Nick Creamer said.

The new hours began on Friday, Jan. 24 and will last till the end of the semester. Based on how many students attend the library during the extended hours, a decision will be made by those invested in the project to continue them into the 2014-2015 academic year.

UND student Carolyn Tate said she plans to utilize the new hours.

“I think they are convenient,” Tate said. “I think 10 is a good time to open on the weekend because that way you can sleep in and then go.”

To cut down on cost, only the second floor of the library will be open during the extended hours and student employees will be scheduled during those hours.

“I certainly believe in getting the full ‘student experience’ at college, but I also feel that UND needs a much greater focus on academics than extracurricular activities and athletics. I love UND and I want my degree to be from a University that emphasizes academics and will be valuable in the future,” Burke said. “My hope is that students will utilize these new hours and find them useful in prioritizing their busy student lives so they can experience all UND has to offer.”

Ashley Marquis is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].