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“Open for 24 Hours”: Lessons from the North West University Library Services

Sabelo Chizwina, Siviwe Bangani, Mathew Moyo


The purpose of this paper is to report on the lessons learnt by North West University Library Services with regards to extending library opening hours for 24 hours from Monday to Fridays during the November/December examination period in 2015. This time, the call by students for a 24-hour physical library services was part of the much talked about ‘free quality education’ coupled by the popular hash tag, #feesmustfall. In the case of the Mafikeng Campus of NWU, the protests began in the library when students staged a “sit-in” on the night of 20 October 2016, demanding that the library must open for 24-hours. As a compromise, management acceded to the students’ demands having considered the time that was lost when the campus was closed due to continued students protests. Although the students were demanding for a permanent 24 hour physical library service, management only agreed to open the library on a trial basis during the delayed November – December 2015 examination period. In order to extend the library hours, volunteers from the library staff opened the library from 22:00 to 07:00.  The major lesson learnt was that students were not primarily in the library for library transactions but rather for a conducive study environment despite the existence of a 24 hour study Centre being located in the basement of the library. This shows the need for the reconfiguration of the library’s 24 hour study Centre into a space that supports independent study. Libraries can support students if they are able to recreate the environment in the library in their 24 Hour Study Centres.


cademic libraries; library spaces; library services; independent study

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