Students support extended library hours, ASSU survey finds

A new survey shows that Stanford students are pining for late-night study areas. However, logistical barriers remain to realize this request.

In a survey emailed to both undergraduate and graduate students in Nov. 2023., the Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) hope to gauge interest in study spaces with extended hours. A total of 1251 students responded to the request — it notably garnered 800 responses within five hours of the survey being released. 

The data shows that most students surveyed prefer to use Green Library in the evening as opposed to the morning or afternoon. When asked if they would be satisfied if Green Library adopted a 24-hour schedule, a clear majority of students surveyed indicated they would be.

Currently, many study spots open for daily study hours, such as Green Library, the Law School Library and CoHo, close before the hour-hand strikes 12. For students hoping to pull an all-nighter, the only remaining study spots are Lathrop Library’s “24-Hour Study Room” or student’s own rooms.

“When I really need to get work done, I always want to go to the library for that perfect quiet, undistracted, ‘locked-in’ environment,” wrote Aili McGregor ’26, the class of 2026 president. “But, by the time I’ve finished working out, going to class, attending presidential meetings, grabbing food, finishing my shift at work and wrapping up jiu jitsu practice, it’s too late to go to the library — it’s already closed.”

To get a feel for the sample, use the “dot” visualization below to group, shade, and compare student responses.

If implemented, extended Green Library hours would place Stanford in a unique position among its peer institutions whose main libraries currently share similar hours.

Recognizing that everyone has different work needs, some students are calling for Green Library to extend its hours, giving students more autonomy on their schedules.

“Let us build our own schedules that work for us,” wrote Nathan Deschamps, a second year PhD student in Early Modern European History. “We need a dependable, quiet space — free from loud dorms, with full access to much-needed materials including course reserves, printers, scanners and comfortable study spaces — to complete coursework.”

In addition to the survey responses, the ASSU provided The Daily with a list of over 1000 Student Testimonials which, upon pasting into a text editor, yielded a document spanning 166,360 words over 461 pages. 

The benefits of extending Green Library hours are not lost on library administrators, including Michael A. Keller, the University Librarian and Director of Academic Information Resources. In a statement to The Daily, he wrote that he recognizes “the need for quiet, comfortable and safe study spaces for students who find late-night study in the dorms challenging.”

He added that at peak times a “remarkably large number of students come to Green Library, with almost 200 students in Green Library each evening [until] 11:00 p.m.”

Despite the demand, logistical concerns with extending Green’s Library Hours remain. Gordon Allen ’26 and ASSU Parliamentarian Ivy Chen ’26 believe that budget concerns lie at the center of the issue.

“I think there would be pushback in terms of budget because it is a lot to allocate money and allocate resources in terms of paying employees their wages. Keeping Green Library open is a lot of money,” Chen said.

Additionally, according to Keller, a key challenge is finding salaried staff to assist with information inquiries, general oversight and security, given the outcome of a pilot program of 24/7 Library Hours.

“Our prior experience with a 7×24 study hall in the ground floor of the Meyer Library that had no provision of security of students making use of that study hall, was that there were unhoused individuals coming into the study hall who at various levels took advantage of the students trying to study,” Keller wrote.

The Meyer Library was demolished following a 2007 seismic assessment which found that the cost of bringing Meyer into compliance exceeded the cost of rebuilding elsewhere.

To justify the extra expenditure required to keep Green Library open for longer operational hours, Chen and Allen co-authored a joint resolution on Extending Green Library Hours.