Students may use A-Level once again

By Chris Ross

The A-level may once again ring with the sounds of tapping fingers, nervous laughter, and panicked study sessions through all hours of the night.

The Regenstein Library will reopen the A-level as an all-night study space beginning winter quarter, pending the Board of Trustees’ decision to approve the Library Addition Project.

If approved, the addition would create much-needed shelving space currently housed by the A-level, allowing the level to be used once again as a study space.

Negotiations between Student Government (SG) members and library administrators compelled the Regenstein to consider opening the A-level 24 hours a day again.

The library originally planned to reopen the A-level study space following completion of the addition.

“However, after hearing…arguments about the need for this specific space, we are committed to re-opening the A-level for all-night study space following the Board’s approval for the Addition Project,” wrote library directors in a memo to SG leaders.

The all-night study space was closed at the start of the 2006–2007 academic year to supplement the Regenstein’s critical lack of shelving space. The Regenstein Library adds 140,000 new print volumes annually to its collection.

An all-night study space was set up in Crerar Library when the A-level returned to normal hours. Lacking the Regenstein’s central location on campus and the A-level’s mystique and relaxed noise standards, Crerar proved less popular among some students.

“We heard a lot of students say they wanted to remain in the building rather than leave at night and walk to Crerar. Students talked about the social nature of the A-level space,” said Jim Vaughn, assistant director for library access and facilities.

If the A-level is reopened, Crerar will continue to provide an all-night study space, creating two venues on campus for nocturnal working hours.

“There’s not just one kind of student—some really want the social feel, primarily interacting with each other. Others want more quiet, and we’re trying to support the needs of both. The Regenstein wants to keep all its doors open to students, contingent on the Board’s decision. We continue to be enormously committed to making this work,” said Judith Nadler, library director.

Dan Kimerling, an SG fourth-year representative, also expressed the desire to keep both late-night venues open. “Ideally, we can have both Crerar and the A-level open, to increase both the number of seats and diversity of studying environments available to students late at night,” said Kimerling.

SG’s original proposal to reopen the A-level study space by autumn quarter was rejected by library directors due to safety concerns about the shelving and furniture which remain in storage on the A-level.

SG took up the initiative to reopen the A-level in response to student concerns.

“Students have been very happy that we are working on this issue, because so many of them felt that the A-level was an important part of the campus. When students arrived on campus at the beginning of the academic year to find the A-level closed, a lot of people were upset,” said Kimerling.

The Library Addition project will be brought before the Board of Trustees in December for final approval. If approved, the Regenstein anticipates completion of the addition, which would provide space for 3.5 million volumes by 2010.