URBANA – You can still enjoy 24-hour, five-days-a-week access to some University of Illinois libraries – but only if you have a card to prove you're part of the community.
With some concerns about safety, the Urbana campus will start asking for the i-cards on Jan. 18, particularly in the hours between midnight and 6 a.m.
By mid-semester, there will be automated card readers in place, said Scott Walter, associate university librarian for services and associate dean of libraries.
Library hours have been extended in recent years after requests from their paying users, the student body.
With support from the Student Library/IT Fee, during the academic year, hours went around the clock at the Undergraduate Library and the Grainger Engineering Library Information Center.
Students are fine with it, Walter said – the Illinois Student Senate passed a resolution in December.
Walter said the restrictions are not directly related to a residence hall sexual assault last fall, or a series of peeping-Tom incidents on campus, but that securing the doors can help avoid those problems in library facilities.
Walter said the university hasn't done a census of who's using the library – whether students, faculty or people outside the UI community.
"We did feel based on feedback that this was a reasonable approach to take. The extra hours we have funded in these libraries, all been funded with direct support from the student IT fee, and it's appropriate to listen to these student concerns," Walter said.
No cost has yet been estimated for personnel and card readers, he said.
"We're working with campus facilities and CITES (information technology) and the Division of Public Safety to look at how we can best do this," he said.
He said the libraries already have policies in place for students and nonstudents who cause disturbances, and there are methods for removing those people.
Users will have to present a valid i-card for entry into the Undergraduate Library (midnight to 6 a.m.), the Grainger Engineering Library Information Center (midnight to 6 a.m.), and the Funk-ACES Library (midnight to 3 a.m.), according to a UI press release.
Also, the lower level of the Undergraduate Library will be closed from midnight to 6 a.m. Materials housed on the lower level will remain available for retrieval upon request, the release said.
More information on the changes is at http://www.library.illinois.edu/news/overnight_access.html