The James Joyce Library will be closed on Sundays for the first seven weeks of the semester, only offering a seven-day service for the last five weeks of term.
“The reasons for this are budgetary cutbacks and the five per cent cut that they’ve been asked to take, as have all departments in the University”, Students’ Union President Rachel Breslin stated.
The library had operated a seven-day service since the 2010/2011 academic year following a successful UCDSU campaign for Sunday opening hours. Ms Breslin said she understood why these hours had been re-examined, given the lower demand for the service on Sundays.
“This measure doesn’t impact on all students or some students who will never study on a Sunday. We acknowledge that and the numbers are certainly a lot lower on a Sunday than they are at any other time.”
However she said the Union is concerned about the impact the cutbacks will have on those students who do avail of the service.
“This actually targets those who want to focus most on their academic work, those who see themselves as having to study every day or balance maybe a part time job during the week with studying at weekends. So they’re hitting the students who most want to achieve, who want to study on a Sunday, want to study on their own weekends.”
Ms Breslin said that the seven-day service was “key to students studying patterns, to balancing out your workload and key to the reputation of the University”. She cited the reduction in the library’s book budget over the past few years as another issue of concern.
“We are aware and we understand that there have to be some cuts in some areas but we feel that targeting the library in this way isn’t in any way proportionate to the benefits the library accrues to students”, Ms Breslin stated.
The Students’ Union will be re-examining the plans that were put forward to secure and fund the seven-day library service in 2010/2011. These plans included proposals to hire unemployed graduates free of charge as part of the Work Placement Scheme run by FÁS, employ students part-time and increase ‘Super Fines’ for late returns during exam time.
A study carried out by UCDSU at the time revealed that UCD and Trinity College were the only two Universities among the top 100 that did not have a library which opened on Sundays.
– Sarah Doran