After a Spring 2020 shutdown, and a summer of curbside pickup, the University Libraries reopened to the UAlbany community on Monday, August 24. The semester looked different than previous autumns on campus, but the Libraries adapted and successfully served our students, faculty, and staff.
While planning for reopening began in the spring, the Libraries ramped up preparations over the summer. Facilities installed sanitizing stations and plexiglass barriers at the front desk; a committee formed to add signage across the buildings; and volunteers worked to remove furniture to promote social distancing.
As doors reopened, members of the UAlbany community noticed a few changes to the Libraries. For example, all visitors were required to wear masks at all times in the buildings. Food and drink were prohibited, and all tables were reserved for individual study. The most notable adjustment, however, could be seen in the book stacks, which were closed for public browsing. Individuals could request items, which library staff members would retrieve for them.
These modifications allowed the Libraries to safely stay open for students and staff. They worked effectively, as well, with the only setback coming in the form of a two-week pause period implemented by the University at large. The Libraries never missed a beat, switching back to curbside pickup for the interim period, before reopening in time for final exams.
Deborah Bernnard, Associate Librarian and Director of Public Services, praised the work of the Libraries’ staff in making the smooth semester possible. “I'm very proud of our Access Services and IMC staff who worked hard to make sure that the University at Albany community continued to have access to physical materials and library space,” she said. “I'm also grateful that our virtual reference and instructional services were robust enough to meet this semesters challenges.”
In addition to services and resources, several long-running events continued virtually in Fall Semester. This includes Campus Conversations in Standish, Open Access Week, and Stress Less Week.
“I speak for the Libraries’ faculty and staff when I say that I’m thrilled to see the campus bustling with activity again,” said Dean Rebecca Mugridge back in August. The University Libraries look forward to Spring 2021 and future semesters, when more in-person activities may become available.