Library services continue remotely throughout the summer

Originally Posted on The Cougar via UWIRE

While M.D. Anderson Library is closed until further notice, online resources through it are still available to students. | File photo

In early March, all UH libraries physically closed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Since then, it has been offering students remote services, including access to the libraries’ electronic database and librarian assistance through its website.

Although services have gone remote, the same amount of research and instructional support is offered to students, according to the director of communication for UH Libraries Esmeralda Fisher.

Students have access to software programs like Adobe Suite and others found on the technologies page of their website.

For students who want to borrow print materials, the library staff will first find ways to scan and send the electronic versions of resources before considering to mail them as a safety precaution, Fisher said. 

“It will take time to get used to the online borrow and return process,” said kinesiology and exercise science senior Ryan Cheung, who will be taking summer classes and borrowing books on biomechanics. 

The closure of the library building has prevented students from using the building’s study spaces, computer labs, printers and access special collection materials in the archives.

Moreover, the M.D. Anderson Library does not plan to open for the summer because there are limited staff and students on-campus, said head of information and access services Lee Hilyer. 

Moving forward, UH libraries plan on gradually reopening, paralleling other University departments and resources. Currently, the plan for the upcoming fall is to have appointment-only visits, which will require safety practices such as wearing face masks, according to Fisher.

“As we get closer to the fall semester, we will be looking at phased re-entry, once the University rolls out their plan for reopening, we will follow suit,” Fisher said. 

The library’s hours of operation with staff assistance has been reduced and will continue to decrease due to limited staffing available.

“(Our) staff is currently available from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday,” Fisher said. “That is if you send a message through the contact form. You can also send an email directly to the subject librarian for questions that require more investigation, (or) questions that require more research.” 

The same library policies and restrictions prior to the coronavirus outbreak still apply, such as the lending period, item limits or the terms of use, said Hilyer. 

The library has extended deadlines for items borrowed before the library closure to May 31 or June 1.

Libraries are not lending out technology equipment and media items at this time due to concerns about the safety and sanitizing of those items between people.

For more of The Cougar’s coronavirus coverage, click here.

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Library services continue remotely throughout the summer” was originally posted on The Cougar

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