By Amber Lyn Hunsicker
Back in March 2020, KU decided to close campus and move to fully online classes due to COVID-19. In the hopes of reopening for the fall, the Rohrbach Library staff slowly started coming back to campus in July to prepare for the fall 2020 semester.
Unfortunately, the pandemic has lasted much longer than many expected. A library staff member said, “The library only had a few weeks before the fall semester to truly get ready for students to return.”
According to the Rohrbach Library website, the library was closed until Wednesday, Aug. 19, when they opened to the public at 8:00 a.m.
The week before opening, the library set up several precautions for students to safely return. The library installed plexiglass between individuals working at the front desk and students to add an additional protective barrier similar to a mask. They also require that everyone who enters wears a face mask covering their nose and mouth.
The library has also set up carts around the building to put used materials that need to be sanitized. To try and maintain social distancing and avoid large gatherings, events and giveaways have been cancelled. For example, the library’s annual open house usually holds a scavenger hunt, but this event has been cancelled for Fall 2020.
The library has not only closed their coffee shop, but they also closed their balconies and study rooms. Every table throughout the building that had four chairs now has one and they spread computers out by taking away chairs, lessening the max capacity.
If students have any research or library questions, they can either go to the library or go to their website and click on the “ask now” tab on the right hand side of the screen. This feature has been on their website for many years but recently they have added a Zoom to this feature so that staff can more effectively help students who are unable to come to the library.
The Library website says that the chat feature is typically open “10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Fridays.” Library instructions have also been moved to zoom.
Currently on the Library social media accounts, they are promoting all their resources. For instance, they have added more options for ebooks and movies online for students. Also, the writing center is still open, but they’re advising that students schedule appointments for assistance.
COVID-19 has brought many challenges, but the library staff maintains the belief we’re all in this together, and wants KU students to know that they are still here to help.