Rutgers library policy restricts public access, education
The University libraries are dealing with the capacity issue the wrong way. Instead of limiting the number of people allowed to enter the libraries, Rutgers libraries should consider expanding to include more buildings to use as extensions to the libraries. Rutgers libraries are justifying the new policy (which only allows Rutgers students with IDs to be in the building after 10 p.m.) by stating that the general student body is happy with it. However, I feel that as a public institution, Rutgers libraries should not limit access to books and thus education from the public. We never know where and who our world’s next genius is and where he or she may come from. Limiting the public to the doors of education is just not the American way. The new policy goes against what America stands for: freedom and opportunity.
There are many Rutgers students debating the library’s new policy. I hypothesize that the spark of this fire has ignited from people thinking that the homeless persons have been using Alexander Library as a safe haven, and that something must be done about it because they occupy some of the library space, which prevents Rutgers students from using that space. I personally feel that besides using the library space as a safe haven for a fraction of the day, these homeless persons are also picking up some books to read which will ultimately better our society’s education. Even though Rutgers’s job is not to provide shelter to these homeless persons, Rutgers does have the obligation to provide access to education. Rutgers libraries also participate in the Federal Depository Library Program and use public funds, so in a way their new policy may not even be legal in my opinion. Limitation of access to libraries might be the most economical solution for Rutgers libraries to use, but the University should consider investing some of its funds to expand or request more funds from other resources.
Jay Bhavsar is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in biological sciences.