Sunday, November 18

Crippling Night Powell closure should prompt students to advocate for its reopening


SUBMITTED BY: Tirth Patel

I was walking across the Court of Sciences this summer when my friend balefully broke the news: “They are closing down Night Powell to save money.”

After a few speechless seconds, I unleashed a torrent of unprintable words. We were both in agreement: Night Powell is one of the most successful programs at UCLA.

The place has literally everything: Wi-Fi, LAN, comfy couches, well-lit study rooms and laptop checkouts. It is universally adored by students in need of a study place that stays open late. It is also a safe haven for off-campus students who wish to study away from ruckus-loving roommates.

The place is always crowded with people, and during finals week, it has the feel of an army barracks. Harried students hustle around with weighty tomes with titles like Fundamentals of Molecular Biology and “The Complete Poetry and Selected Prose of John Donne.”

Real estate in Night Powell during finals week is rarer than parking space in Westwood on a Friday night.

Some students are so fond of Night Powell that they choose to sleep there. Are there any downsides? I don’t think so. At a library feedback video survey I attended in spring quarter, participants gushed about Night Powell. In fact, they wanted the program expanded to accommodate the growing demand. Maybe I won’t have to conjure elaborate schemes to protect my seat, I thought.

It was quite a shock when I heard that they were shutting the program down. It just doesn’t make sense. Limit the hours for other libraries, not Powell.

Confident that my fellow Bruins shared my outrage, I logged on to Facebook to join a “save Night Powell” group. Imagine my surprise when I found that none existed. Instead, there is a group to save the Arts Library. The Arts Library, really?

I have nothing against the Arts Library, but if these people were able to start a group about a highly specific library, doesn’t one of the most widely used programs at UCLA deserve one?

And the Chemistry Library. Well, I was a huge fan of that one. I checked out my first copy of the Feynman Lectures on Physics there and I remember the oh-so-musty, yet sweet smell of yellowing books on analytical chemistry, acoustics and quantum electrodynamics.

The study tables also have highly amusing comments etched into them, ranging from arcane equations to dirty professor jokes. They were among the prime resting stops for people who spent their whole day there, like me.

I guess I will have to move down the hall to the Geology Library now. Farewell, old friend.

 Patel is a third-year microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics student.

Patel is a third-year microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics student.

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