Shedding Light on Accessing Library Collections

Shedding Light on Library Collections
By: 
Kate Cabe
Assistant Director of Collections

Hand sanitizer, headlamps, gloves, masks, and padded mailers. Microsoft Teams, quarantine schedules, telework, temperature checks, and social distancing. The tools and processes look a little different now than they did last fall, but Western Libraries is working creatively and safely to make books and other important resources available to Western students, faculty, and staff through a variety of methods. 

2 people standing outside beneath library skybridge for on-site pickup services

Western Libraries continues to provide access to more than half a million ebooks, nearly 200,000 streaming media titles, and countless articles that are available to you 24/7 in OneSearch. And we are regularly adding new content, particularly in response to patron needs. In addition to these resources, library staff continue to fill requests for articles and book chapters through Interlibrary Loan (ILL).

If it’s a good old--or new!--physical book or DVD you need, we can get that to you as well. Click on the “Request WWU copy” or “Request using Summit Borrowing” links in OneSearch, and you can choose to pick up the item during our no-contact, on-site curbside services from 10am-Noon on Tuesdays and Fridays. Or, you can select the “Mail to address” option, which allows you to tell us where you’d like your requested materials mailed.

For the time being, while you aren’t able to come into the library buildings to browse the stacks yourself, you can “virtually” browse the shelves in OneSearch. Once you find an item in OneSearch you are interested in, you can click on the “Virtual Browse” option along the left-hand side. This will show you the books or materials in the collection that are shelved nearby and allow you to request them.

Screenshot from library website showing how to browse the collection virtually

Libraries staff are also continuing to provide support for electronic course reserves by providing access to ebooks and streaming media when possible, and scanning chapters from books to ensure broader access and help reduce financial burdens on students. Instructors can submit course reserves requests via the course reserves webpage.

Yes, some things look different now, but our commitment to getting you the materials you need remains the same. And we are always looking for new and better ways to make that happen. If you are having trouble finding what you need, please reach out to your librarian subject team, or contact Circulation Services via email at library.circulation@wwu. We’ll do what it takes to get you what you are looking for—including putting on a mask and headlamp (which is so much more efficient than turning on and off more than 100 light switches in Wilson!) to retrieve materials from the stacks.

Published on: 10/04/2020 - 8:53am