Western Libraries Update - July 2020

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Posted on: Friday, July 24, 2020 - 11:01am

Western Libraries Update 

At this time, Western Libraries’ buildings remain closed to library patrons through the summer; however, the library continues to be open online.  As we look ahead to the upcoming academic year, it is too early to know precisely what fall quarter will look like in terms of opening up access to library buildings and spaces. 

We understand the frustrations this uncertainty may cause for those whose plans are  dependent on access to library buildings. Please know that we share these same frustrations and anxieties, and we want to do all we can to meet the needs of our students, faculty, and staff in a safe manner. 

At this time, Whatcom County is still in “Phase 2” of Washington State’s “Safe Start” plan. During Phase 2, libraries are not permitted to open their physical buildings to the public but can implement on-site pickup of materials if certain health and safety guidelines are met.  Beginning July 21, Western Libraries began offering online requesting of library materials, with on-site pick up and mail delivery options. This means Western students, staff, and faculty can now request, borrow, and pick up or receive by mail items from the Libraries’ collections. You can learn more about this service at Expanded Phase 2 Services - July 2020. Summit and ILL services are not yet available, but resume when it is possible to do so.

Western Libraries offers a wide range of online resources and services to support teaching and learning. For students, the Hacherl Research & Writing Studio is available online during posted hours of operation. You can connect live to an online meeting, initiate a chat using Ask Us, or send us a draft paper for email response. The Studio staff and librarians are available to answer any of your research and writing questions via chat. Additionally, our online Library Information Tutorials and learning with archives and special collections materials focus on starting a research project, finding and evaluating sources (including local and unique materials), as well as drafting and revising your text. These tutorials and other learning resources are available 24/7.

The Tutoring Center, which primarily supports math and science GURs, also provides online and appointment-based tutoring services. You can find out more about these services and see a full list of the classes supported by visiting the Tutoring Center’s website.

We are paying close attention to all of the health and safety guidance, state mandates, and university decision-making, as things change and new knowledge is shared. Should we reach Phase 3 or 4 in the coming months, the Libraries is working with university leaders in health and safety requirements that must be in place in order to resume library services further. We will communicate new information as soon as it becomes available.

We recognize how difficult and disruptive the COVID-19 pandemic and global response have been in people’s personal and professional lives. We appreciate your understanding as conditions rapidly change and Western Libraries reevaluates its ability to deliver a wide range  programs and services. As we struggle to adapt to the challenges of operating in an  unpredictable environment, we are not always able to provide as much advance notice as we would like. We will continue to share new information via Western Today, on the Libraries’ website, on our social media channels, and also with signage where appropriate.

We ask that students, parents, staff, faculty, and others from the Western community please reach out to us with any questions about access to specific resources, services, or materials at this time. We will do everything possible to find methods and resources to answer your questions and meet your needs, even if our library buildings remain closed. Please see the complete directory of library personnel for more detailed contact information, and do not hesitate to contact us with your questions or concerns. If you have general questions or are not sure who to contact, please email LibraryCommunications@wwu.edu