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Library Services - Fall 2020

What to Expect from the Library in Fall 2020

The Vassar College Libraries will endeavor to provide students and faculty with the resources and support they need to thrive in the hybrid learning environment of fall 2020. Library operations will be significantly modified to address health and safety concerns, in accordance with state and local requirements and the principles outlined by VassarTogether.

Changes to Library Spaces

Access to the Libraries

  • The Main Library will require card-swipe access during all open hours, consistent with the campus-wide policy for access to college buildings
  • Use of the libraries will be limited to Vassar College students and employees.
  • The Guest Borrower program will be temporarily suspended. 
  • The 24-hour space will be closed when the Main Library closes.
  • The Design Studio will be open when the Main Library is open. 
  • Group study rooms will be unavailable.
  • Study Carrel assignments will remain unchanged from spring 2020, for the time being.

Health and Safety 

  • Everyone in the libraries will be required to wear masks and maintain a distance of 6 feet from others. 
  • We will promote social distancing and minimize density by:
    • Maintaining less than 50% occupancy (based on normal seating arrangements)
    • Removing a substantial number of seats
    • Reconfiguring furniture and posting signage to discourage group gatherings
    • Staggering staff work schedules 
    • Reducing the presence of staff in public areas
    • Making bathrooms and elevators single-use only
  • We will minimize physical contact by:
    • Reconfiguring public spaces
    • Modifying services (either to be self-service or provided online; for more details, see below)
  • Facilities will disinfect bathrooms and high-use areas regularly, and post logs of cleanings.

Changes to Collections and Academic Support

Access to collections and resources

  • We will support hybrid teaching and learning by:
    • Providing online course reserves only through scanning and purchasing e-books and digital site licenses.
    • Allowing for flexibility in new book acquisitions by letting current need dictate the format we purchase.
    • Working with faculty to reimagine assignments to make full use of online resources. 
  • We will follow best practices for handling materials safely to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Materials that are returned will be set aside for 7 days before returning to circulation (source). 
  • While patrons will be able to browse the libraries' book stacks as usual, we will limit browsing in close quarters by allowing "open reserves" materials (Main Library and Art Library) to circulate.
  • Interlibrary Loan (ILL) and Connect NY (CNY) services will resume when other institutions resume lending print materials.
  • We hope to expand paging/pickup service to include delivery to students and faculty in isolation and/or studying off-campus. More details will be shared on the Fall 2020 page.

Academic support, instruction, and research help

  • Library instruction will be conducted online. We encourage faculty to contact their liaison librarian to discuss possibilities for workshops, assignments, and online learning resources that will support their courses. 
  • Consultations with librarians (for research papers, projects, etc.) will be conducted online; for more details, see the Ask a Librarian page.
  • Archives & Special Collections will be open to Vassar users by appointment.