Go to content, skip over navigation


More Pages

Go to content, skip over visible header bar
Home News Features Arts & Entertainment Sports OpinionAbout Contact Advertise

Note about Unsupported Devices:

You seem to be browsing on a screen size, browser, or device that this website cannot support. Some things might look and act a little weird.

Hatch student employees face substantial cuts to working hours due to library re-financing

February 10, 2023

Student workers at Hatch Science Library have had their hours cut by as much as half in response to budgeting re-evaluations that have reduced student working hours across the Bowdoin library system.

In total, 20 weekly hours of student work were cut this semester for Hatch employees, which has raised concerns around the future of student employment in the library system. Shifts that were previously covered by two employees have been indefinitely converted to single-employee shifts.

Students were notified of the schedule change at the beginning of the semester, leaving them with little time to find alternative employment or reassess personal finances. A number of workers saw their hours cut from as many as 13 per week to as few as six or seven, said Ryan Ngo ’25, who has worked at Hatch since the start of his first year.

“They only allow one person to be staffed from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., which cut back working hours  … from students that really needed the money,” Ngo said. “That’s been kind of frustrating.”

Maryam Akramova ’24 had her hours cut in half, forcing her to search for a new job to make up for the sudden loss in income.

“I just wish we had more time notice because I’ll have to get another job,” she said. “Now a lot of people are competing for a lot of jobs.”

Library administrators chose to change the work schedule at Hatch after a standard budget re-evaluation, noted Marjorie Hassen, the Director of the College Library, in an email to the Orient. Hassen wrote that changes in the nature of work at Hatch—such as a reduction in the number of items placed on reserve—drove the decision to cut student hours. She emphasized that this cut represents a reconsideration of budgetary priorities rather than a reduction in the overall library budget.

“Funds were not cut, simply redeployed to other areas of the libraries,” Hassen wrote.

Student employees expressed that the reduction in hours represents a lack of appreciation for their work by library administrators. Students are having to defend their employment by logging each individual task they complete.

“We have a new system of tracking things I think to justify why we should have two people working,” Akramova said. “We didn’t used to record, ‘It took me one minute to check the book drop,’ but now that’s something we do.”

Ngo emphasized that the Hatch librarians—who are student employees’ direct supervisors—have fought to maintain student employment availability.

“Our bosses have been really trying to stand behind us and keep things the same, but at the end of the day they have to listen to library administration,” he said. “They’re trying to make sure the job is still there for people.”

Hatch is not the only library that implemented cuts to student hours for the spring semester. Student employees at the Pierce Art Library were informed via email that their weekly hours would be reduced for the duration of the semester due to a change in the library staffing model. Hassen maintained that re-evaluations of library staffing schedules on a semester-by-semester basis are standard practice.

“The library’s work is dynamic and we are continuously reviewing our processes, procedures, and staffing, to be sure we are working effectively and using our resources wisely,” she wrote. “Changes to student hours are not uncommon and the shift to the Hatch schedule doesn’t represent an extraordinary change.”

Hatch employees are still hopeful that their work schedule will return to its past model and assert that their employment is essential to the library’s functioning. Akramova noted that countless students rely on Hatch as a study space due to the variety of textbooks on reserve and long hours of operation.

Ngo expressed the fear that this change could foreshadow a devaluation of student employees at Hatch and other Bowdoin libraries in the future. This would likely harm both student employees and the students who use Hatch to study, he said.

“I think our bosses would have to do a lot of the shifts, which could reduce the hours that Hatch itself is open. A lot of students want the library as a quieter space away from [Hawthorne-Longfellow Library] or if they live closer,” Ngo said. “Not only is having student staffing going to help make it a more useful resource for students, but it’s also a great opportunity for student employment, and cutting that would be a shame.”


Before submitting a comment, please review our comment policy. Some key points from the policy:

  • No hate speech, profanity, disrespectful or threatening comments.
  • No personal attacks on reporters.
  • Comments must be under 200 words.
  • You are strongly encouraged to use a real name or identifier ("Class of '92").
  • Any comments made with an email address that does not belong to you will get removed.

Leave a Reply

Any comments that do not follow the policy will not be published.

0/200 words