Ohio University

University Libraries announces phases of safe reopening process

Published: June 24, 2020 Author: From Staff Reports

The Ohio University Libraries began its first phase of reopening on June 22.

During the first phase, borrowers will be able to request local materials (including from the Annex and the Music and Dance materials), which will be retrieved by staff, prechecked out to users and placed for no-contact pickup during designated hours.

Borrowers should use the “Request Item” button in the ALICE Library Catalog for any item available to borrow. The Libraries will notify borrowers by email when their materials are ready. Pickup will be available between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. inside the Alden Library 2nd floor Park Place entrance. An OHIO ID will be required to enter.

Returned materials will be quarantined before recirculating or reshelving. The University Libraries’ staff is looking to the research and national guideline to determine best practices for handling library materials.

“We will implement processes in the interest of mitigating the potential transfer of the virus for both our staff and users, including a quarantine period on returned materials and the use of gloves when preparing materials for pickup,” said Janet Hulm, assistant dean for collections and digitization strategies.

As part of phase 1, the Libraries’ staff will prepare physical spaces and computing resources for public access during later phases of reopening, including reconfiguring space to meet social distancing requirements.

“This involves reducing the amount of fixed computers so that there is more space around each, as well as providing spaces near the printers where students can safely touch down and queue for quick printing from their own devices,” said Kelly Broughton, assistant dean for research and education services.

In addition, the Libraries’ staff will reconfigure study furniture and the multimedia center, install “sneeze guards” at the help desks and new signage, and determine preferred pathways around the facility to reduce potential congestion. 

The University Libraries will continue to enable instructors’ use of digital alternatives through purchasing, scanning and electronic reserves.

Libraries’ staff also are highly experienced with providing online, real-time support to users, helping with assignments and research questions, Broughton noted.

“Over the decades, we have also been increasingly investing in electronic content of all types--we recently transitioned to more eBook uses than print book checkouts,” Broughton said. “This, of course, has always helped OHIO students and researchers away from Athens and even those in their offices and residence halls, but it is indispensable in the remote learning environment we faced this spring and summer.”

Find more information about the reopening, including a FAQ: https://www.ohio.edu/library/coronavirus/borrowing-library-materials