Ouachita Baptist University’s Riley-Hickingbotham Library has changed its hours for the spring semester in an effort to more effectively meet the needs of students. The library will open earlier during the week and on Sundays while Saturday hours will be shortened.
The new hours are Monday through Thursday from 7:45 a.m.-11 p.m., Friday from 7:45 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday from 12 noon-5 p.m. and Sunday from 6-11 p.m. The library previously opened at 8 a.m. on weekdays and was open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturdays and 8-11 p.m. on Sundays.
The change was sparked by a December article by Mauri Sparks in OBU’s student newspaper, The Signal, that expressed concern about inconvenient library hours as well as Starbucks, Chick-fil-A and local business hours.
Ray Granade, director of library services, explained the reasoning behind the revised library hours, saying, “The library consistently evaluates operations, usually on an annual basis. We try to be open to questions about operations and particularly how we might better serve our campus patrons. Even though no one had approached any of us about a change in hours, we took the article in The Signal in early December quite seriously and took a look at what we were doing and what might need changing.”
In his research, Granade compared OBU library hours to other academic libraries around the state and with Baptist and Christian academic libraries around the nation.
“We considered a complete range of ideas within the library,” Granade said. “Providing unsupervised open hours would require physically altering a structure built on an open plan, a costly alternative.” He said significantly expanding available hours would require adding staff, which is currently not an option.
The library also decided against the option of creating an annual library fee to cover the cost of expanding hours “on the grounds that it would increase the cost of an OBU education,” Granade said. “So, shifting hours with a slight increase was the only option available to us.”
The new plan was formulated based on current usage statistics and is being implemented as a pilot project. If usage during the new hours justifies the change, the hours will remain. If not, the library will either revert to the previous schedule or make additional adjustments.
For more information, contact Ray Granade at firstname.lastname@example.org or (870) 245-5121.
By Nicci Fillinger