24-hour study space to open in time for exams

03 September 2012

students studying

The Students' Representative Council (SRC), together with UCT management and executive director of UCT Libraries Gwenda Thomas, recently secured a study space in the Chancellor Oppenheimer Library that will remain open to students 24 hours a day.

This development is the culmination of a series of discussions that began early last semester, and an idea that has been debated at the university for years.

Set to open for the October/November exam period, Immelman 5 will provide 98 study seats for students who wish to study through the night. The secure space is the first of two planned 24-hour study venues which, upon completion, will house 288 students.

The second venue, on level six of the Library, is presently undergoing renovation. It will house a further 190 seats and is expected to open at the start of the 2013 academic year. It is anticipated that this number of seats will be sufficient to accommodate the students who are likely to utilise the space.

As level six will not be available during the upcoming exam period, Menzies 12 will be used as an overflow venue for students who cannot be accommodated in Immelman 5.

UCT Libraries has advised management that this area should be upgraded with new and comfortable furniture in the hope that this will bring it up to standard with other study areas provided by the library.

Once open, the 24-hour spaces will be entered through external access-controlled doors, which will come into operation every night after the main library has closed. Security guards will be positioned to monitor these entrances and to patrol the surrounding areas from 22h00 to 08h00.

Although the after-hours study areas will be available for the use during normal library hours, the separate doors will require that students leave the library at closing time and re-enter through these access-controlled doors.

In addition to the 24-hour study spaces, the Library, while maintaining its opening hours, will extend its weekend hours to 8pm over the exam period. These hours come into effect on the weekend starting Saturday 27 October, and will run until the weekend ending Sunday 11 November.

Thomas explained that the extension of library hours during the week is incompatible with the present number of staff. Extended weekday hours would encroach on the compulsory 12-hour daily rest period required of employees.

Nevertheless, UCT Libraries has stressed its commitment to meeting students' needs by partnering with the university in its goal to "improve student throughput and graduation rates by providing the right level of support".

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