Increased remote options, Steri-bot amongst new measures to ensure safe delivery of library services
Bridget Stringer-Holden // Associate News Editor
Capilano University (CapU) staff returned to the library on Aug. 24, in order to prepare for its official reopening on Sept. 8. Throughout the summer, the Library moved all of their services online and addressed student service requests via email or the research help desk’s online chat. Although everything remains online, and two new online chat services have been created, the physical help desk will also be able to assist students who wish to come to campus.
“It’s really important that students have somewhere to come. It can be challenging at home, depending who’s there and who you’re sharing with, to have silence, quiet space or enough good Wi-Fi,” said Dr. Debbie Schachter, University Librarian. “We have done our best to ensure that the library space will be available to students and we’re doing that in the safest manner possible.”
The new library chat service can be found on the library home page or the Contact Us page and will be operating during library hours. It’s a general chat service that provides an online alternative to the in-person service desk so that students don’t need to come to campus. In order to provide support for specific writing, math or social science concerns, there will be a specialized chat for academic services on the Academic Support Services page. The Indigenous Learners Librarian, Kim Minkus, will also be providing help over the MS Teams Indigenous Student Resources Team on Tuesdays from 1-2:30pm and Thursdays from 10-11:30am.
For students that wish to come to campus, in-person assistance is available, thanks to plexiglass shields installed at the service counters. Shields will also be placed between computers, with plastic sleeves on all keyboards and printer screens for ease of cleaning. Students will be expected to wear face coverings and maintain a two-metre distance from others, which will be marked with stickers on the floor. In order to promote social distancing, some chairs and tables have been removed from both the top and bottom floor of the library. The maximum capacity for the entire library is 100, with 50 people allowed per floor.
The new Steri-book disinfects books, DVDs and other equipment quickly by using ultraviolet light, allowing physical materials to be easily recirculated. There will be thorough nighttime cleaning of the library and cleaning kits have been placed around the library for students to use before and/or after they are done with a table or piece of equipment. There is also the ability for those at the Kálax-ay Campus on the Sunshine Coast to request library resources that are delivered weekly.
New health procedures aside, Schachter noted that other than not being able to circulate or shelve books during the summer, not too much had changed. “Libraries have been working in the digital environment for so long it wasn’t a huge adjustment,” said Dr. Schachter, explaining that almost 90 percent of the library’s collections were already digital, though some copies were limited and needed to be reserved. “The biggest change was not being able to be face-to-face and connecting like you do naturally with people in the library. There’s a lot that gets lost, especially if you’re just communicating by email.”
“We’ve continued to maintain very consistent practices both across the university and across institutions,” said Dr. Schachter. “And it may evolve, but we have developed a policy document that we are just finalizing for student-facing service in the library.” The Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) worked closely with the Ministry of Advanced Education and the Centre for Disease Control to ensure there were standards across all public post-secondary institutions. There was also a committee within CapU’s library who worked with EOC and Facilities to determine specifically what was needed in the library to maintain the recommended safe practices.
Schachter encourages students to reach out and make use of the new chat services that the library is attempting to make as easy to connect with as possible.
“We’re happy to be able to offer the in-person [assistance] and physical space,” said Dr. Schachter. “We look forward to feedback as always and hope that students find out [about our] chat services and find them to be helpful. We try to reduce barriers as best as possible because it’s very challenging times.”
The CapU Library and the IT help desk are now open from Mon-Fri 8am-7pm.