Library Survey 2016: Opening Hours


Part of Summer Vacation 2016 poster at Divinity Library

Whilst working in libraries, in the last 12 years, at each single one there were complaints about the opening hours. Don’t get me wrong, I can fully see how opening hours are important, or even crucial for library users – after all, I am, have been and plan to continue to be a user of libraries myself. I’m a member of one library I am not allowed to borrow from, and therefore cannot use it as often as I would like. Another library I cannot borrow from often, because I cannot get there after/before work.

When I started working at the Divinity Library I enquired about opening hours; why not open on Saturdays? Why opening “only” until 6pm? In the end, I realised that – sadly – not much could be changed; so I decided to preamble the Library Survey with the following text: Please note that this survey will not ask about opening hours of the Divinity Library. This is due to the fact there are currently insufficient funds, and due to the Faculty’s Health & Safety concerns, to open it for longer, or on Saturdays.

However, to the question “If you could change one thing in the library, what would this be?”, we received 12 (out of 84 comments). Below I try to respond to these comments:

Longer opening hours during vacation (although I suspect the cost would outweigh the minor improvement in convenience!)

Vacation access is poor: the hour long lunchbreak closure, in particular, has been the biggest barrier to my use of the library during the vacations (which is a pity because it hampers the development of a graduate community during these months).

Open to staff during lunch hour.

We have trialled keeping the library open during lunch hours in vacation time in Easter Vacation 2016, with the financial support of the Faculty and the help of two PhD students. We are continuing to do so for all of June and July, and most of September – however, in August the use of the library drops so much, that we did feel that we could not justify paying extra money to keeping the library open.

Incidentally, other smaller libraries (such as the Pendlebury Library, next door) also need to close during vacation times, as permanent staffing levels drop over vacation times.

 Last year our Library was closed during all of August, this year we will be closed for 7 working days. I hope that this is deemed an improvement – even if it is not as ideal as you would like it to be. If you are a PhD student or staff member, please also make use of our generous borrowing allowances.

Longer opening times!

Opening hours

Longer opening hours

The opening hours are totally inappropriate and one of the reasons not to do a PhD in Cambridge.

Longer opening hours

Longer opening hours. I work in the Law faculty more often than in Divinity for this reason.

I wish it didn’t close so early!

Have the library open on Saturdays.

Open on weekends

As stated in the preamble to the Survey Please note that this survey will not ask about Opening Hours of the Divinity Library. This is due to the fact there are currently insufficient funds, and due to the Faculty’s Health & Safety concerns.
However, I appreciate that this might not be deemed to be a good answer. I have been told that the Health & Safety concerns are unsurmountable, as the whole building needs to be open, and then would need to be checked before closing the building for the public. Other Faculty and Departmental Libraries have different layouts to their buildings, and can allow for access. I’m sorry that I currently see no way how to find a solution.



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