Pickler Memorial Library has reopened after an extended period of closure and library staff has changed its daily operations due to COVID-19. Students can expect to see a change in communal study spaces, access to materials and seating options.
Janet Romine, head of public services for the library, emphasized that the staff did a lot of work preparing the library prior to the start of the fall semester. The library’s layout has changed to accommodate social distancing.
Each floor now features spaced out seating options and a limited number of chairs at tables to encourage social distancing.
Students might have also noticed a decrease in study rooms.
“The self-service study rooms on the second and third floor on the south end are closed because they’re storing furniture and there’s no way of knowing when they [would have gotten] cleaned if they were self-serve,” Romine said.
The upstairs study rooms have now become single person occupancy and are cleaned thoroughly after every use.
Another measure the library is taking to ensure student safety is quarantining all materials as they are checked in before they pass to another student.
“So, by looking at other evidence, some research articles, what other libraries were doing, consulting with others … they recommended quarantining materials because you can’t disinfect them … the 72 hours seemed to be the most common recommendation across all the types of the materials to just make sure the virus has time to die off the materials,” said Romine.
Amanda Langendoerfer, associate dean of libraries for special collections & museums, explained that the Special Collections Department, which helps preserve historical materials, has also had to observe this quarantine rule along with changing other aspects of its operating procedures, namely that students can visit by appointment only.
Langendoerfer said special collections is working on providing virtual experiences with its materials for students as well.
“[We] encourage people to still contact us for programming and outreach because we’re not shut down,” Langendoerfer said. “We’re just doing things a little differently.”