The Daily Tar Heel

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Tuesday January 31st

UNC Libraries reduce operating hours due to staffing shortage

UNC sophomore Hannah Jones poses for a portrait in Davis Library on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022. The eighth floor of Davis Library is Jones' go-to study spot.
Buy Photos UNC sophomore Hannah Jones poses for a portrait in Davis Library on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022. The eighth floor of Davis Library is Jones' go-to study spot.

University Libraries is reducing its operating hours due to a staffing shortage caused by an increase of COVID-19 related employee absences.

"In recent days, the University Libraries has experienced higher than usual numbers of staff absence as some of our dedicated employees find themselves needing to care for family members or isolate," Judy Panitch, director of library communications, said in an email.

The impacted libraries and hours are as follow:

  • Davis Library: Closing at 10 p.m. instead of 2 a.m.; reduced weekend hours
  • Undergraduate Library: Closing at 8 p.m. instead of 10 p.m.; reduced weekend hours
  • Health Sciences Library: Closing at 8 p.m. instead of at midnight.

Additional information about closing times and other hours changes can be found on University Libraries' website.

“In making this temporary change, we can provide the campus community with consistent, reliable and uninterrupted building access during the busiest times of the day, alongside virtual access to collections and services,” Panitch said.

The UNC Library Twitter account announced the hours of operation change on Thursday, and encouraged students to wear masks while inside the libraries to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“When a staff member asks you to put on a mask, it’s not just because it’s a rule, it’s because we are trying our best to serve you and remain open,” one of the tweets said.

In addition to wearing a mask, UNC Libraries recommends that students using the library services stay home if they feel sick and get their COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters.

Some students have expressed frustration at the early closing hours, especially in Davis Library, which normally closes at 2 a.m.

“I think that it’s definitely detrimental to students’ ability to have a place to go to study," sophomore Hannah Jones said. "For example, my roommate and I, when the library closes early and we still have work to do, we’ll go all the way to Wegmans, which is open until midnight — and that’s an option that we have because she has a car. But for students that live on campus, it really limits their options of where they can go to study or socialize with their friends.”

First-year Ayla Fish said she has also been affected by Davis’ early closing.

“On weekdays we often have a lot of homework, and it’s frustrating when they close at 10 o'clock,” Fish said. “So sometimes it can be a bit frustrating not having that extra hour or two to study.”

University Libraries will resume typical hours as soon as possible, according to Panitch.

“I’m glad that they’re protecting their workers and allowing them to isolate rather than having them come to work while positive, but it definitely has consequences for students academically and socially,” Jones said.

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