Senior David Montiel received an alarming email last Saturday on his morning subway ride, notifying him of a $55 fee for failing to renew his study room reservation.
“Originally I went to the library to use a study room on Friday and received an email the next day that I owed $55 for not returning a key,” said Montiel, who—like most Manhattan College students—uses the library as his primary study location.
He returned to the O’Malley Library, claiming that he had returned the key when he was done studying. After the librarian found the key, which was on the rack, she still tried to charge Montiel the $55.
Despite what the email had said, the librarian cited Montiel’s failure to renew his study room reservation after the first three hours of use; not the alleged loss of the key.
This is part of a new policy in the O’Malley Library stating that any student who uses a study room longer than the allotted three hours will be assessed a $55 fee.
“[The policy] was really put in place to make sure everyone got dibs on a room,” said Amy Handfield, the daytime circulation desk manager in the library.
Handfield claimed that last spring, students were supposed to be notified of the change in checkout systems for study rooms.
Montiel was not informed until he after he had been charged.
“Eventually [the librarian] did not charge me but warned that if I stayed in a room longer than three hours again, I would be charged,” said Montiel after pleading his case.
Later that night, after another long study session, Montiel was almost fined for a second time. He said that even if the person at the Circulation Desk waives the fee, it may still appear on a student’s account as money owed.
Students should be made aware, however, that this policy has only recently been implemented and Handfield said, “this is not a witch hunt, we aren’t going back and fining people who used a room over the allotted time two months ago.”
“This really is just a warning to make sure that more late keys don’t keep going out,” continued Handfield, whose goal is to make sure that every student gets an opportunity to use a study room.
“There are a lot of popular tools [in the library] but everyone seems to love the study rooms,” she said, making the claim that all students deserve a fair chance to use the space.
Students are bothered by the new policy saying that three hours isn’t nearly enough.
“When I’m writing a paper, I can be in a study room for up to six hours,” said Sophomore Elizabeth O’Connor, “I know when I’m in the zone, I don’t look at the clock and it’s not going to help me if after three hours I have to go renew a reservation.”
“I think if it’s such an issue, the people at the Circulation Desk should go down and remind students when their time is up,” said Krista Nugent, a student-worker in the library.
“It’s really not that bad,” argued Handfield, “If you know you have three hours, you just have to come back upstairs.”
But still, $55 is a lot of money. Money that students are expected to pay on top of the current cost of tuition.
“I just think they are trying to find new ways to charge you,” said Nugent.
“I can’t afford $55 on top of my tuition; I’m a broke college kid and I’m going to remain that—even more so—if I continue to get fined,” said O’Connor.
Montiel concluded his comments saying, “They should really just make more room, or keep the library open past midnight.”
Correction (11/9/14) : The Quadrangle reported David Montiel’s name incorrectly. His last name is Montiel, not Wintiel.
The Quadrangle misreported Amy Handfield’s title. Handfield is the access services librarian, not the daytime circulation desk manager.
The policy surrounding the fine was misreported. The fine is a result of a missing key, not of keeping the study room for too long.
We deeply regret the errors.