Followowing student demand the Berkeley/Lecky/Ussher library complex will, beginning immediately, open on Sundays from 11am – 5pm.
T hese facilities were initially introduced during Hilary Term 2008 and, proving successful, it was decided to continue these opening times to the Michaelmas term and extend the new times to the Hamilton library.
However, the College Library Committee, describing last year’s opening hours as a “pilot project,” reverted to Sunday closure on the grounds that the Library budget couldn’t stretch to cover the costs involved.
Cathal Reilly, president of the Student’s Union, says that upon first hearing of the Sunday closure, he “questioned college on a number of occasions about this and found that they were reluctant to provide the funding for this service, as the level sector (sic) was subject to some funding cuts.”
After negotiations between Reilly, Education Officer Hugh Sullivan, the Librarian, and the Vice-Provost, it has been agreed that necessary funding will be provided by revenue generated from tourists visiting the Book of Kells.
Without Sunday openings, Trinity has the shortest library opening hours of any university in Ireland (though equal to Maynooth.) At the moment, the libraries in Trinity are open for up to 77 hours per week, five hours less than the average Irish university and considerably less than UCD’s 103.5 hours a week.
Reilly recognises that “it is essential the library opens on Sundays and it has always been a priority for the SU. For a university that is ranked 49th in the world, we should have the facilities of a top university.”
Despite the improved opening hours, there is still no access to the usual counter reserve service and books cannot be taken out.
Reilly, speaking with Trinity News, described the development of extended opening hours as “fantastic news,” despite the limitations imposed.
L ast year the Students’ Union distributed a survey asking students to rank eleven issues in order of importance. Library facilities and study space were ranked top from a sample of 1100 respondents, illustrating enormous demand.
T he new opening hours will be in place for the rest of the year and will be extended to the Hamilton after the Christmas break. There will be an assessment of the feasibility of continuing this facility in future years, depending on library turnout over the next couple of terms.
Sullivan has warned that even with the increase in registration fee, “cuts of up to 15% are due in the next college budget.” and that “library opening hours could be targeted.”