Johnson: KSL: A student resource? Maybe?

Grace Johnson, Staff Writer

I have a question: Isn’t the campus library the place where one does research? Isn’t it the place where resources are made available for student use? Isn’t it where we study to find some quiet and solace in our otherwise busy world? Isn’t it, finally, the location where we do some of our most profound work; a place meant for fostering thought and reflection?

One would think.

While all of these customs still exist at our beloved Kelvin Smith Library (KSL), they are only available for a very limited amount of time every day. For Case Western Reserve University students, especially those consistently involved with extracurriculars, some of the only times we have to research and study are outside regular daytime working hours.

Saturday—for myself and many of my peers—is a catch-up day. We work on papers, study for upcoming tests, research for projects and start on homework for the upcoming week.

However, KSL doesn’t open until 9 a.m. on Saturday, but the real kicker is it closes ridiculously early at 5 p.m. For most people, that isn’t even dinnertime. While I like to get an early start on my work and have to wait for the library to open, other people like to wake up later, and 5 p.m. is hardly an adequate time to finish work.

Furthermore, there are many materials and resources only available in-person at KSL. Books, archives, digital software and even computers are all boasted as an asset to our learning experience and are there to help us best suit our various needs during our education. However, some of these entities are limited to use only within the walls of KSL.

When the time parameters create a narrow window to utilize these tools, are they actually beneficial?

During midterms, the library adjusted their hours so students could have more time and therefore resources to study and write—or, if you’re like me, drink a lot of caffeine and cry a couple of times. However, midterms week varies from student to student, and heavy workloads do not simply start and end the week before fall break.

For a frame of reference, my midterm week was a week and a half ago, but I have three papers, a presentation and an exam this week. I know I am not the only one, either, with this extensive workload. College is challenging, but especially so when you go to the No. 1-ranked school in the state and one of the top 50 in the country. We are here to accomplish great things, both for ourselves and the world, while simultaneously making the school look good on paper.

That success may be inhibited due to limited resources and inadequate opportunities to explore the options we have available to us. For a school so determined to be put on the map for its accolades and numbers, it does a very poor job of both supporting and ensuring that those accomplishments are actually possible.

Lengthen the hours. It could be imperative to our success.