Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

USF library all-nighters will return in the spirit of compromise

Here we go again, you probably thought: the story of a wretched economy, a budget cut to the bone, and education getting the short end yet again.

Except this one has a surprise ending.

It wasn't like students at the University of South Florida's main campus in Tampa had themselves in a lather over something like, say, demands for more Red Bull in the vending machines or getting Miley Cyrus as their commencement speaker.

No, their recent protest was actually about learning.

Studying, to be more precise.

They had showed up for the new school year only to learn that the days of hitting the library overnight — that time-honored tradition of pulling an all-nighter to pore over class notes, finish assignments and cram — would be but a memory.

Blame a dismal budget, they where told, but from here on out, the USF library once open 'round the clock on weekdays would now close from midnight to 7:30 a.m.

Students did not say, "whatever," however. They gathered in a peaceful protest outside the library overnight to say: We're sitting here because this matters to us. They wrote letters to the university president. They made clear in a student government survey that 95 percent of them believed those library hours were important to how they did in school.

Few things in college are as time-honored and steadfast as the library, no matter how the books-to-technology ratio may morph with the years. The college library was quiet and safe and thank god air-conditioned, or blessedly warm if you went to one of those schools where it snowed. You found a cubby hole and fell into organic chemistry or 17th century poetry or macroeconomics, and you did not risk a roommate bursting in with a 12-pack and a plan for a beer pong marathon. You could be alone until you gathered your things and went home, eyes bleary and head full.

The price tag for keeping the USF library open overnight with two librarians — about $136,000 — didn't seem so big given the overall budget of the university. But these days plenty of us know the sting of bosses looking to cut anything they can, anywhere they can.

So the bottom line was this: Kids who wanted to study into the early hours — and that's study, not play a sport, or hear a band, or party down, but study — would not have access to their library in which to do it.

What happened next was a learning experience for anyone who thinks money is money and what does it matter where in a budget it comes from. There was the question of whether this should be funded from money intended for academics or for student activities. When you are deeply involved in such budgets, these territorial details matter greatly.

But in the end, everyone hunkered down and came up with a solution that involved (!!!) working together. Important detail: They even managed to come up with a recurring source for such funding instead of some scratched-up one-time cash to limp through until next year, when they could face this all over again.

So those classic library all-nighters should soon commence, and what a lesson to take from your college years:

That protest can work, particularly when it hooks up with compromise.

USF library all-nighters will return in the spirit of compromise 09/05/13 [Last modified: Friday, September 6, 2013 12:22am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pasco tax roll shows increase, but so, too, are budget requests

    Local Government

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco County's tax roll grew by more than 5 percent in 2016, but it's a figure that likely would require local government budget writers to trim proposed spending requests.

    OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times
New construction accounted for $693.5 million in taxable property values being added to the Pasco County tax rolls in 2016, according to preliminary estimates released by Property Appraiser Gary Joiner. Overall, the property tax roll grew more than 5 percent, according to the preliminary numbers.

  2. Tampa Bay Super Bowls: A brief history and some predictions for 2021


    At last, Tampa will host a Super Bowl again. It used to be that the Cigar City would host one a decade, but by the time February 2021 rolls around, it will have been 12 years since the epic showdown between the Steelers and Cardinals. Because it has been awhile, let's revisit those past Super Bowls while also peering …

    Santonio Holmes hauls in the game-winning touchdown in the Steelers' 27-23 Super Bowl XLIII victory over the Cardinals in 2009, the last time Tampa hosted a Super Bowl. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  3. Rays bats go silent in second straight loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Sure, Alex Cobb was to blame for the Rays' 4-0 loss on Tuesday.

    Derek Norris strikes out with the bases loaded as the Rays blow a golden opportunity in the seventh inning.
  4. Analysis: Manchester attack was exactly what many had long feared


    LONDON — For Britain's security agencies, London always seemed like the likely target. For years, the capital of 8 million with hundreds of thousands of weekly tourists and dozens of transit hubs had prepared for and feared a major terror attack.

  5. Dade City man dies after crashing into county bus, troopers say

    Public Safety

    ZEPHYRHILLS — A 38-year-old man died Tuesday after colliding into the rear of a county bus on U.S. 301, the Florida Highway Patrol said.