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Monday, June 17, 2024 — Houston, TX

24/7 Fondy presents more cons than pros

By Thresher Editorial Board     1/16/24 9:51pm

A petition was posted by an anonymous Rice student Jan. 13 asking for Fondren Library to be open 24/7. By publication, the petition had garnered 313 signatures. While we understand the desire for more study spaces, the extra labor required to support this endeavor may cause more difficulties than it solves. Instead, we have some suggestions for other study spaces and resources that those who want it can access 24/7.

The petition claims that the change will “enhance student life and academic performance.” While it is possible that more study hours may improve grades for some, it is also true that allowing students to study at all hours will encourage unhealthy behaviors. Rice is already known for its “cult of busy-ness,” or the myth that Rice students perpetually keep themselves occupied at all hours with homework, internships, extracurriculars and more. Opening Fondy 24/7 could incentivize students to sacrifice their physical and mental well-being as they pull more and more all-nighters. Further, there will have to be additional staff and resources allocated to support those long nighttime hours. 

For those who would benefit from extra study time, there currently exist places to go at all hours. The Rice ID swipe that gets you into Fondren can also access college commons and private dining rooms for late-night study sessions. Residential colleges have computer rooms with printers. The BioSciences Research Center in the Texas Medical Center is open past 2 a.m., when Fondy closes, and there is a shuttle to transport students to and from the BRC in the late hours of the night. 

There are many other resources that Fondren provides, from books to data software access. Even if Fondren’s hours are extended, some departments are not open for all of the library’s current hours. While Fondy’s hours are 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Thursday, the Digital Media Commons is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. those days and the GIS/Data Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Extending Fondy’s hours would also raise the question of whether these departments should match it, putting undue stress on their staff.

Meanwhile, there are a plethora of resources available online, including the Woodson Research Center’s archives and digital collections. A sizable chunk of books, journals and other databases in the Fondy catalog are available as Ebooks 24/7 through EZproxy, enabling students doing late-night research to access them without having to go to Fondy itself. 

Although the desire for longer hours is understandable, we do not believe opening Fondy 24/7 would increase the quality of student life. Rather, we encourage students to utilize existing opportunities at hand and prioritize their well-being and that of others. 

Editor’s Note: Thresher editorials are collectively written by the members of the Thresher’s editorial board. Current members include Prayag Gordy, Riya Misra, Nayeli Shad, Brandon Chen, Sammy Baek, Sarah Knowlton, Hadley Medlock and Pavithr Goli.

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