Article written by Kylie Miller.
This month marks ten years since the Athenaeum opened in September of 2009. The $48 million building is home to Goucher’s Library, Silber Art Gallery, Alice’s Restaurant, Goucher Student Radio, and more. The Athenaeum has always been open for students to access it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, until now.
Goucher has been considering changing the Athaeneum hours for the past few years. Last fall semester in September of 2018, Student Affairs sent a survey to all Goucher students about their use of the library. It included questions about when students typically use the library.
An email was sent by the Office of Communications on August 5th, 2019 informing students of new Athenaeum and Library hours.
In response to the announcement, Goucher students expressed concerns about needing alternative study spaces available 24/7. A follow-up email was sent by the Office of Communications on August 23rd, 2019. It listed 16 study spaces located in residence halls throughout campus.
This brings another new change to Goucher, as stated in the email, “please be advised that effective Monday, August 26, all residential students will have access to all residential buildings and floors.”
In previous years, residential students were able to vote on who had OneCard access to the residential building they lived in. The three options were closed, semi-closed, or open. Closed meant only residents who lived in the building could access it. Semi-closed meant all residential students could access the building during the day, but only residents who lived in the building could access it at night. Open is now the standard on campus, which means all residential students have access to all residential buildings.
In the same follow-up email, the reasons behind the new Athenaeum hours were further explained. Facility utilization data was collected over the 2018-2019 school year to track how many students were in the library and when. The email referenced their findings:
“We discovered that there were usually fewer than 10 students per hour (and typically 5 to 8 students) using the Library during the hours from 2 AM to 7 AM. Ultimately, our goal is to be responsible stewards of college resources; thus, we had to evaluate whether it was responsible to have such a large facility open and staffed for a small number of users.”Written in email sent by the Office of Communications on 8/23/19; signed by Scott Sibley, Interim Provost, and Bryan F. Coker, Vice President and Dean of Students.
The email also clarified that the library hours will remain 24/7 during final exam periods. Goucher students have begun adjusting to the new athenaeum hours since classes began on August 22nd.
Hannah Jury, a junior Special Education major, told The Eye, “I think if the appropriate research has shown that only a small number of students are using the Ath during certain hours, then why be open during those hours? This move will help Goucher be more efficient, especially in light of our financial state right now.”
For the past two fiscal years, Goucher College faced a deficit. The new president, Kent Devereaux, named his top three priorities, “a focus on growing our enrollment, increasing our student retention, and ensuring our financial sustainability” in a letter to the Goucher community. Changes are being implemented in various areas of the college to cut costs, including the new Athenaeum hours.
Athenaeum photo courtesy of Goucher.edu.