With the arrival of students on campus, McKee Library has undergone major changes in its day-to-day functions in order to practice safe social distancing. Students and faculty are expected to keep their masks on at all times while in the library and follow any safety protocols set by the university, according to Library Director Deyse Bravo.
The biggest change students will encounter is the process of checking out books, Bravo said. To ensure student’s safety, the book stacks have been closed this semester. Students will now have to request a book using the library’s online catalog. Once a book request is made, an email will be sent to the student’s Southern email address letting him or her know when the item is ready for pickup.
To return the books, students can use the book drop-off box outside of McKee or inside the library at the Circulation Desk. All books will be quarantined for three days upon their return.
Periodicals can be checked out at the periodical desk or on Flipster, McKee’s online magazine stand. Through the library’s website, students have access to thousands of articles and thousands of streaming media titles. Any periodicals checked out will be quarantined for one day.
Yet, there are many materials still available, and Bravo encourages students to use them.
“Take advantage of our plethora of resources,” Bravo said. “If we don’t have something you need, we will get it for you via an interlibrary loan…We love helping students with their research. That’s our job!”
In addition to changes to the checkout process, seating capacity at McKee has been cut by approximately 50 percent, Bravo said. Many chairs throughout the library have been removed to ensure safe social distancing, and the high-top tables located on the second floor now require a reservation four hours ahead of time. Any furniture that has been spaced out is not to be moved. In the process, the amount of available study desks and computers have also decreased.
These changes have greatly impacted junior nursing major Danielle Laurent. According to Laurent, most of her studying is done at the library, but now with the decreased capacity and computer availability, she finds herself spending less time at the library.
“I understand why these changes are happening. It makes sense for everyone’s safety, but it’s a little off-putting,” Laurent said. “But overall, I’m glad they are concerned about our safety.”
Study rooms will remain open this semester. Most study rooms allow two people and larger ones allow four. To secure a room, reservations must be made eight hours in advance, and students are expected to clean up after themselves before leaving. Additionally, study rooms will be sanitized after each reservation.
Junior nursing major Camila Oleaurre is a student worker at the McKee Library who needed to adapt to all the new rules. Despite these shifts, she feels the changes were important to make.
“These changes are necessary and can hopefully make both the students and workers feel safe,” Oleaurre said. “I do think these are positive changes that can hopefully reduce the transmission of the virus on our campus.”
Follow Mckee Library on Instagram @MckeeLibrary to stay up to date about additional changes.