UC Berkeley Libraries to Reopen on Saturdays

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POTS: Library Hours Back

UC Berkeley students reflect on the return of library hours.

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With donations from parents of UC Berkeley students, campus administrators decided earlier this week to restore Saturday hours for all campus libraries to their spring 2009 schedule.

The move followed talks last weekend among campus administrators about the financial viability of the change. Chancellor Robert Birgeneau and Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost George Breslauer appropriated a total of $50,000 from undesignated donations from parents to restore library hours.

"We know that group study is very important and sometimes groups can work more easily when they are in a branch library because the material is all there," said Thomas Leonard, UC Berkeley university librarian, who helped provide estimates about restoring the hours.

Leonard said he was contacted by undergraduates and ASUC representatives about restoring the hours. He attended a student-and-teacher discussion and went to the 24-hour "study-in" at the The George and Mary Foster Anthropology Library in Kroeber Hall last weekend where students protested library cuts and called for free, open access to libraries.

"When people show up with pillows and books to study it's pretty convincing that they take their libraries very seriously," Leonard said.

Campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof said the "study-in" helped accelerate the decision-making process and the search for a way to keep the libraries open.

At least one of the branch libraries will renew its Saturday hours this weekend, though Leonard has not yet decided which one.

Over the course of this semester, Leonard will gradually restore library hours so that by Thanksgiving all branch libraries will resume their spring 2009 Saturday hours.

Overall, students said they support the campus's decision, though many said it would not help them personally.

"I don't know if it will benefit me because I'm usually gone on the weekends," said Rammohan Reddy, a sophomore intending to major in mechanical engineering. "But I'm sure it will benefit students who don't travel."

Meanwhile, some students said the library closures were the wrong move to make in the first place.

"It's taking away a vital aspect of our education," said freshman Maddi Wachs, an intended social welfare major. "I don't think closing the libraries should (have been) our first step to solve the budget crisis."

The $50,000 appropriation follows an anonymous $30,000 donation made Oct. 2 to keep Doe Library and Moffitt Library open 24 hours during finals for both the fall and spring semesters.

"This is a double win for students who love libraries," Leonard said.


Contact Chris Carrassi and Mojgan Rastegar at [email protected]

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