Robarts has cancelled its overnight hours for the fall 2021 term, which, prior to the shutdowns prompted by COVID-19, were open to all community members with a valid TCard. The library will now close at 11:00 pm on weekdays and 10:00 pm on weekends.
According to a U of T spokesperson, the policy change was implemented to ensure a “gradual and safe return to in-person activities” in the coming semester. Most U of T libraries, such as the East Asian Library, will be open to those with a TCard as of September 7. Some libraries, however, will open at a later date, others have yet to release reopening plans, and a few do not plan to open in the fall at all.
While in-person services will no longer be available at Robarts after 10:00 pm on weekends and 11:00 pm during the week, students will still be able to access Robarts’ electronic catalogue during the evening, which includes e-books, journal databases, primary source databases, and videos.
Nevertheless, some students still lamented the study space they will lose this September. Robarts Library has long been a popular destination for late night study sessions, a tradition that’s been cut short by the reduction in hours.
“I look forward to late night sessions mainly because of the immense clarity I tend to feel in the night leading up to either an exam or an assignment that might be due the next day,” Zaheer MacDonald, a third-year biology student, explained in an email to The Varsity.
For MacDonald, these nights were “productive and euphoric,” especially in regards to how they contributed to the uniqueness of the university experience. They added that Robarts provided them with a comfortable space where they could unwind after a long day.
“The feeling of relief as I exited Robarts, greeted by the refreshing frigidness of fall air, was unmatched,” MacDonald wrote. “Both its proximity to campus and its separation from the comforts of one’s own room help to motivate study even when tired.”
MacDonald highlighted the universality of culture that Robarts inspired in the U of T community as well. They noted that one cost of the policy was that first-year and second-year students would not get to experience the late-night Robarts studying that connects many U of T students.