At 4:15 a.m. Thursday, Asem Alluhibi took a hit on his canned combo coffee-energy drink and one last drag on his cigarette before heading into the Valley Library to study for a thermodynamics exam.
Alluhibi is taking advantage of a spring-term pilot program sponsored by the Associated Students of Oregon State University. The library is open 24 hours Sunday through Thursday from April 4 through June 12 to determine if student usage is sufficient to support permanent funding for round-the-clock access.
Students have been asking for all-night access for years, said Chris VanDrimmelen, ASOSU president. “The provost agreed to fund (the trial) to see if students would actually use 24-hour access.”
“This is actually our busiest day,” said Ali Schlicting, a library technician hired temporarily for the night shift. “The people that stay all night each get a section to themselves.”
One student had been tucked in a corner all night on the fifth floor since the 24-hour experiment began.
“There’s no line for the copier,” said Destinee Dixon, a senior in Spanish. “But it’s taking forever to warm up.”
Dixon came to the library 10:30 p.m., straight from her job. “I’ve been here forever. I live here. Personally I can’t study at home. If I’m in the library, I’m forced to study. There’s people around me to keep me motivated.”
And still Dixon fell asleep and needed to be nudged. She said a library security agent told her, “‘Ma’am, excuse me. You need to find somewhere else to sleep.’”
Three students from Saudi Arabia said they are nocturnal by nature, and thus found the all-night library access convenient.
“I like to stay up all night,” said Ahmed Alhammad, a student in the OSU INTO program. “In Saudi Arabia, it’s too hot. Maybe it’s better to be out at night.”
“We should be in class from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.,” said Amjad Almousabeh, also an INTO student. “After that, we take a rest for four or five hours then we come here. There’s nothing to do at night.”
Library staff walk all six floors — five acres — at the top of the hour, counting patrons. Only OSU students are allowed in the building between 1 and 7 a.m. and must show a student identification card at the entry.
“It’s kind of a last-minute kind of thing,” said Andrew Clark, a library technician, as he made the 5 a.m. rounds. “People were a little upset that they didn’t have somewhere to study 24 hours. The student body came to the library and said we want you to stay open and they provided the funds.”
Hovland Hall, which offered computers and 24-hour access, closed over spring break due to a “miscommunication,” VanDrimmelen said.
“During fall term, when it looked like Milne and Hovland labs were going to be closed, that panicked a lot of people. With good reason,” VanDrimmelen said. The spring-term pilot project is funded by technology resource funds.
Three friends who met at Umpqua Community College have the sixth floor to themselves. One naps. One studies flashcards. The third is taking a break and watching “90210” on her laptop.
“We’ve basically been here pretty much since Tuesday,” sad Savanna Hardekoph, a senior in zoology and pre-med. “We have lockers full of food.”
Hardekoph prefers the library to Milne Lab. “I had to crash in Milne. It’s pretty small and kinda cold. We know it’s a trial, so we’re going to put in our numbers.”
Tucked in a corner on the fifth floor, Vinit Sirichit, a second-year doctoral student in economics, studies for his qualifying exams this summer.
Sirichit spends Sunday through Thursday from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. with his back to the wall and his face in his books. Until “I cannot think anymore.”