New check-out process implemented at library


Kenneth BathContributor

The new campus-wide safety protocols have caused the Hilton C. Buley Library to move most of their services online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This has brought forth a new checkout process for books that now involves them being quarantined for 14 days before they are available for check out again.

“For the circulation desk and for book returns, we are no longer taking them in person. You would have to drop or return the book in the book drop that’s outside of the library,” said student worker Jurea McIntosh, a junior. “Also, students can’t go into the stacks anymore because of COVID-19. They have to request the book that they want online, and it will take a day for the staff to pull them from the stacks themselves.”

According to Adjunct Faculty Librarian Karla Jones, this goes along with the new social distancing stickers and plexiglass implemented throughout the entire building to make sure students and staff are safe once the building reopened in August.

Prior to the reopening, there was a curbside pickup service available for students to pick up books. Non-circulating books have also been made available for electronic delivery.

“They’ve also implemented a scanning service for reserves and reference books and chapters in circulating books. Every library patron must wear a mask. All staff and other workers must wear a mask,” said Jones.

She added that students enjoy the new scanning process because it does not require them to be there in-person.

History Graduate student Michael Brown said the recent changes have not affected any of his research negatively.

“They are quite manageable; I haven’t been majorly inconvenienced; it all seems pretty fair and sensible,” said Brown. “So, I feel both comfortable that there aren’t any big risks to [my] health but at the same time I don’t feel like its throwing off my research or the way I would normally do things.”

Brown also described the new checkout process as “pretty smooth.” However, he said he misses the convenience of being able to browse the various books in the stacks of the library.

“The downside is how I like to be able to go to a part of the stacks and just skim through a book to see what’s relevant and what’s not. If not, put it back or if it is, I will take it. I find that physically a lot easier than having type keywords do the whole thing digitally,” said Brown.

Other changes include a chat tool on the library’s website to interact with the library during open hours. They will also be issuing earbuds to students upon request to keep instead of renting out headphones like in previous years. The same policy will also be applied to dry erase markers.

Study room reservations have also been extended to three hours in order to accommodate students with online or Hyflex classes according to the Buley Library website.

The Buley Library has also hired new student workers to work in person to help make books and other research materials available online. McIntosh said there has been more work to do in person to make the necessary content available for these students.

“On certain days, it just feels like there’s no one in the library, but on other days it seems like everyone is coming to the library because they have a lot of questions or concerns about their books. It’s also been a hassle to adjust to everything and find a whole new different flow,” said McIntosh.

Jones mentioned that Buley Library will have reevaluate what services will remain online once the pandemic is over.

“I think we’re going to have to make an assessment once there’s a vaccine on what they want to do,” said Jones. “There are a number of patrons that have requested that we continue the curbside service. So, they are going to have to make that decision eventually. And with checkout, some people like just being able to have everything set for them to get.”

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