Looking Back: Kresge Library opens 24/7 in 2011

Autumn Page, Staff Reporter

In 2011, Kresge Library extended its hours of operation to 24 hours a day and seven days a week. This is the second time their hours have changed within a two-year period. 

Previously, Kresge was open 24 hours, but only Monday through Friday. 

The change in the hours of operation didn’t extend to the Suzanne O. Frankie Café within the library. The cafe’s hours are set by Chartwells, according to Frank Lepowski, the former associate dean for the library. 

“We continually lobby them [Chartwells] for later hours, as it seems like students tend to want them later,” Lepowski said. “It’s a work in progress.”

This hour change didn’t include holidays and special dates — the library was still closed on those days. 

OU Student Congress’s commitment to students’ needs resulted in the previous hour change. They worked with university administration to increase access to the study space. 

“Based on that success, we’ve approved a subsequent request to move to a 24/7 operation at the library,” said Gary Russi, former university president. “Any time we’re able to make additional funding available for resources that will help OU students succeed, we’re both obligated and pleased to do that.”

When the library switched to 24 hours, five days a week, the library found that there were 30,000 night visitors throughout the entire year. 

Funding for the hours came from the president’s office, and according to Lepowski, there was an increase in employee wages. Fifteen thousand dollars was added, and the library spent a total of $110,000 on employee wages. 

“It’s created a need for more student workers, for sure,” Lepowski said. 

Mark Fisher, an elementary education major, said he was looking forward to the increase in hours because of his busy schedule. The increased hours would give him more time to spend in the library with his multiple jobs. 

“The weekend is an excellent time for many students to study, especially those with Monday through Friday work days,” Fisher said. 

From midnight to seven in the morning, only students with OU IDs are allowed in the library for security reasons. 

“We have a very close working-relationship with the Oakland University Police Department, they do frequent walk-throughs,” Lepkowski said.  

The last time the library changed its hours since 2011 was back in early March due to COVID-19 concerns. While it was recommended students used the remote services, the library was open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., and 10 a.m. through 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Then another hour change came not long after that, closing the library until further notice because of COVID-19 shutdowns. 

With the upcoming fall semester approaching, the library is still closed to students but is offering remote service. This also includes the medical library and the Writing Center. Books can be requested and most of the services usually offered are still available. The library plans to reopen to students on Aug. 17 with limited hours, reduced occupancy and masks required.

More information can be found on the Kresge Library website about requesting books, services like research consultations and how the library is responding to the pandemic.