Out of the Book Bind

Campus Issues: Collaboration by administrators and student leaders to renew library hours ought to be replicated in the future.

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In the throes of midterms, many students have likely gained a certain familiarity with the cramped quarters of Main Stacks. At a world-renowned research university, access to millions of books and periodicals is integral to the day-to-day workings of our education. And even in a budget crisis, access to the critical academic resources housed in the campus libraries cannot be sacrificed.

Thankfully, our threatened libraries are being restored. Earlier this semester, campus administrators announced that budget cuts would prevent the Main Stacks and Moffitt Library from remaining open 24/7 during finals, as they traditionally do. Coupled with students' heightened fees, the loss of this important resource epitomized the harmful effects budget cuts have had on the UC educational experience.

Last week, after a meeting with ASUC President Will Smelko, Chancellor Robert Birgeneau was able to find an anonymous donor who generously contributed $30,000 to keep libraries open 24/7 during final exams. Whether you use that resource or not, having the option of using the library at all times during strenuous final exams is undoubtedly a benefit for all students.

Unlike previous years, many of the smaller campus libraries have been completely closed on weekends this semester, limiting students' studying abilities and access to discipline-based resources. On Wednesday, a campus-wide e-mail announced the restoration of spring 2009 Saturday hours for all libraries, thanks to donations by UC Berkeley parents.

Gratitude for renewing library hours ought to go first to the donors. Libraries should not be cut in the first place, and we wish Birgeneau would have acted sooner to find a donor. But when dealing with across the board cuts, officials have a duty to respond to student demands to maintain critical campus services.

Birgeneau and Smelko rightfully stepped up to their leadership roles and effectively provided a solution to maintain an important resource. Such collaboration between students and administrators ought to set a future precedent for similar proactivity and responsiveness to students' voices in dealing with budget cuts.

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