Restarting the libraries: mission underway

Image: Dean of Libraries, Curtis Kendrick
Dean of Libraries, Curtis Kendrick

A former colleague of mine from another university — a Vietnam War veteran — was fond of saying of our work in the library, “no mission is too difficult, no sacrifice too great, service first!” Hyperbole aside, that modification and adoption of the U.S. Army’s 1st Infantry Division’s motto comes to mind lately, as our library staff and faculty have been on a mission this summer to prepare for a new service paradigm.

For the fall semester, the Libraries have reimagined our spaces and services to provide a high-quality learning experience for students and to support scholarship and research. We understand the importance of having access to our unique research print collection as well as comfortable study space. During library hours, all floors are open at each location. Library visitors are able to use our new MeeScan self-checkout machines or mobile app for quick, easy, contactless checkout of books, and contactless self-serve hold shelves have been positioned for material pickup. Print course reserves are available and we have deployed a UV sterilizing machine to sanitize course reserve materials between uses.

In the interest of safety, we have rearranged our furniture to promote social distancing as well as removed some seating to reduce density. While there have been changes to the physical layout of our locations, and an ongoing increased use and promotion of our online services and collections, so, too, have there been changes in what is expected of our visitors. While at the Libraries, visitors must adhere to the guidelines that apply to faculty and staff, including wearing a face covering over the nose and mouth as well as social distancing at least six feet apart. Visitors are also being asked to wipe down study carrels and chairs prior to using them because individual cleanliness standards may vary.

We will see how students and faculty react to these changes. Because of COVID-19 restrictions and reconfigurations all around the University, the Libraries will be one of only a few services available to students during evening and weekend periods. Opinions vary, but we’re mostly expecting a lot of goodwill and cooperation in true Bearcat fashion.

See more information about the Libraries’ restarting plan.

Curtis L. Kendrick

Dean of Libraries