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A sign about a new library policy outside Alden Library at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, Sept. 13, 2023.

Alden Library requires swipe-in access after 10 p.m.

Alden Library now requires Ohio University students and faculty to swipe in using their university IDs from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Beginning at the start of the Fall Semester, the library switched to requiring swipe-in access to ensure the library stays an exclusive study environment for the OU community, according to a university library blog. 

Next month, Alden Library will also add to the policy, that it will be only staffed by students after 11 p.m. Students will open and close the library which will follow the practices of other campus buildings, like Baker University Center.

The later hours in the library result in less demand for staff with expertise; therefore, Alden supervisors want to take the opportunity to change who will work until closing time, Chad Boeninger, interim assistant dean for research and education services, said. 

Morganna Marks, library support specialist, said once the training for students working the late-night shift is complete, supervisors will not have to work as late. 

Marks said with the policy in place, instead of locking all doors at 2 a.m., staff lock the revolving doors on the fourth floor and one side of the vestibule doors on the second floor at 10 p.m. The staff also put caution barriers up at 10 p.m. instead of 2 a.m.

The closing staff are responsible for sweeping the floors at midnight to ensure every student moves to the second and fourth floors until close.

It can take a while to scan the floors at 10 p.m., Boeninger said, so the staff complete ID checks once students are on one of two available floors.

If someone is in the library when they shouldn’t be or causing a problem, there are signs in place — around both entrances and inside the library — to tell the individual that they cannot be in the building. The signs also disclose how to exit the building and that ID checks are required.

While infrequent, there have been some occasions where intoxicated community members or other instances arose late at night. However, these issues were able to be handled by a staff member, Joey Walden, student coordinator, said. 

“Sometimes those issues can disrupt our ability to close on time or for my staff to go home on time,” Boeninger added. 

Alden staff guarantees that the new policy does not relate to any instance that may have happened in the past; the switch to require swipe-in access comes from extra safety precautions to ensure student employees are set up for success while working at night, Walden said. 

Boeninger said before 2020, the library was open 24 hours and required swipe access after midnight.

“COVID allowed us to revisit some of our core services,” Boeninger said. “Frankly, I think we’re in a state where people are becoming aware of their own health, and by us being open all night long, wasn’t necessarily promoting a healthy environment.”

Boeninger proposed the policy to the university during the 2022 Fall Semester and continued to improve the plan into the following spring semester.  

Since being implemented, library staff have received positive feedback and gratitude from students, Boeninger said.

“This is a learning space,” Marks said. “This is a space where students should be safe and comfortable, and we are the only building on campus that is a public building that is open this late at night. I want our patrons to be comfortable.”


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