University Libraries announce fall plans, begin book pickup service

Contactless pickup service is the first step in the University Libraries’ phased re-entry plan. As students return for the fall semester, limited hours and study spaces will be offered at Davis Library and the Health Sciences Library.

A man wearing an orange mask carries a stack of books on campus.
Photo by Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill

Readers seeking books and other items from the University Libraries will be able to place requests online and pick up library materials outdoors beginning July 13.

The contactless pickup service is the first step in the University Libraries’ phased re-entry plan. Campus libraries have operated remotely since mid-March due to the COVID-19 emergency.

University affiliates with an Onyen and members of the community with a borrower’s card can use the pickup service to request circulating items for pickup outside Davis Library or the Health Sciences Library.

Learn more about the library materials pickup service

Mostly online through fall

As the campus welcomes students for the fall semester, the University Libraries will begin offering limited hours and study spaces in Davis Library and the Health Sciences Library starting Aug. 3.

Most other library services — including consultations and assistance, instructions, reserves and programs — will continue online through the fall. University Libraries will prioritize the purchase of electronic resources for research and teaching, and is expanding its capacity to scan, digitize and electronically deliver materials, especially from the Wilson Special Collections Library. This emphasis will allow researchers, instructors and learners to continue their work, regardless of location.

“We want every member of the Carolina community to be successful in this unusual semester. That begins by doing everything we can to keep people safe,” said Elaine L. Westbrooks, vice provost for University Libraries and University librarian.

Cleaning a library’s many shared surfaces and maintaining physical distancing in buildings designed to bring people together are particular challenges in the library environment, said Westbrooks.

Among the changes that library users will find when Davis Library and the Health Sciences Library reopen:

  • Everyone in library buildings will need to wear a face mask and maintain 6 feet of physical distancing.
  • Stack floors will be closed. To request books or other items, please place an online request and the library will retrieve them for you.
  • Furniture will be de-densified and spread out in order to encourage physical distancing. University Libraries is seeking to implement a reservation system for tables.
  • Public computers, printers and other technology will not be available in library buildings.
  • Faculty and graduate students with offices and carrels will be able to make an appointment to retrieve books and belongings. However, offices and carrels will not be available for routine use.
  • Most reserve readings will be electronic. Remaining print reserves will be available in Davis Library, rather than the Undergraduate Library.

Library personnel will carefully assess how the new service models are working and will determine whether services can be gradually scaled up with experience or, conversely, whether conditions will require a return to delivering more services remotely.

“We are navigating this new normal alongside everyone else in the community. We are approaching reopening cautiously so that we can learn as we go along and make adjustments going forward,” said Westbrooks.