By the middle of March, it became obvious that the COVID-19 pandemic would significantly alter how Atkins Library provided services to its patrons. In one week the library went from in-person service to nearly online-only.
Between March 17 and August 30 a handful of in-building staff coordinated the retrieval of materials and laptop-checkouts for library users. They either mailed materials or arranged for pickup from a table set up outside of the main doors. Face-to-face help and consultations were switched to chat, text, phone, and email. Librarians provided instruction in courses through the Canvas learning management system. Special Collections and University Archives staff assisted the campus community and others with research by digitizing items for users and through email consultation. It looked and felt different, but we continued to provide library services to our users while our doors were closed.
"I appreciate all y'all are doing to keep us afloat this semester."
- Ivy (student), April 2020
On August 31 the library reopened with limited hours to students, faculty, and staff with strict hygiene, mask and social distancing guidelines. Furniture and equipment were removed or rearranged to create social distancing, and masks were (and continue to be) required at all times while in the building. Circulation, Interlibrary loan, and Area 49 reopened. While Special Collections has not yet physically reopened, students, faculty, and other researchers can make an appointment and be escorted to the Reading Room on the top floor of Atkins to conduct research. Niner Times, the student-run campus newspaper, published an article earlier this semester outlining all of the guidelines, policies, and measures Atkins established to help keep our students, faculty, and staff safe through this pandemic.