I very much regret to inform you that an after-hours sit-in Monday night at the Science & Engineering Library has forced us to close both campus libraries today earlier than usual. The S&E and McHenry Libraries both closed at 4:30 pm today; our current plan is to resume normal operating hours at both facilities on Wednesday (both opening at 10 am).
Today's early closure was necessitated by a sit-in last night by 75 students, lasting two hours past the S&E Library's regular 10 p.m. closing time. This required us to call in six additional library staff, extend the hours of staff already working last night, and request assistance from UCSC Police.
I am grateful that participants departed last night without further incident. But since their action required extra library staffing, fewer people were available for tonight's shifts at both libraries. In other words, the sit-in further reduced funds available to pay our dedicated staff to keep our libraries open.
This is very distressing. As a lifelong librarian, I am a tireless advocate for expanding library access to students, faculty, and others. I understand the impact of reduced hours on library users, and I have worked with students to adjust our plans to expand operating hours during finals weeks this academic year.
I also have advocated for students and all library users in conversations about next year's budget. Campus budget plans currently protect the libraries from another round of deep cuts in the upcoming 2010-11 fiscal year.
I sincerely hope that today's reduced library hours are a one-time inconvenience for our students, faculty, and other library users.
Thank you very much for your patience and understanding.