Image Credit: DS Pugh
The University library has published a plan to reopen its buildings, and staff have already begun to ready the space for reopening as of today (6 July). Much like the national effort of lockdown emergence, the library will also gradually reopen in three phases. The University library is exempt from the Government advice which states that libraries can open their doors from 4 July, as it is an academic library and must, therefore, reopen as a part of the University’s reopening plans.
The first phase of reopening will allow for library staff themselves access into the library again, this will allow time for staff to make the physical changes needed to accommodate for social distancing measures. This process has begun today.
The second phase of reopening will allow students and staff a ‘Book Takeaway service’, wherein print-only books will be available through click and collect, and can be returned via an external book drop. The library plans for this service to commence on Monday 13 July.
Phase three of reopening will see students and staff being allowed to physically enter the buildings so to use the study spaces available there. There will be a reduced occupancy and booking system in place to adhere to social distancing regulations. The library has expanded upon what this phase three library will look like, explaining that “you’ll be able to visit the Library on Campus West - but it will look and feel a little different to the way things were before the buildings closed.”
The library has not yet finalised their opening hours, but they state that these will be “advertised before Monday 27 July,” they do point out, however, that “the minimum we’ll be open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.” Students will be able to use study spaces and some bookable PCs during these hours, and have access to the Amazon lockers. Despite this, students will not be able to freely browse print materials as they would have prior to the library closing, and instead must still use the Book Takeaway service provided.
The library have also set out certain safety measures that will be undertaken upon this reopening, citing that lockers will be unavailable, the help desk will only be accessible online, soft furnishings (such as sofas) will be out of bounds, and hand sanitiser will be distributed throughout the buildings. These measures may reportedly change as the situation develops further, with the library stating that they will “be working in line with the latest guidelines at any given time.”
Despite these clear strategies for the reopening of Campus West library, the University has not yet finalised the reopening dates of Kings Manor Library, the York Minster Library and the Library space in the Piazza Building on Campus East. The availability of other study spaces across campus have also not been finalised.