DATE: March 23, 2020
TO: Wendy Hensel, Provost
Senate Library Committee
FROM: Jeff A. Steely, Dean of Libraries
SUBJECT: Library Status Update
The University Library is committed to collaborating with faculty, staff, and students in this transition to online learning. Each year, more than 90% of the dollars spent on collections go toward electronic resources, including online databases, journals, streaming videos, and e‐books. These resources remain available in this crisis. We have also digitized important pieces of our special collections and archives. For many years, library professionals have developed online research guides and tutorials. We have facilitated remote assistance through a chat interface and an FAQ that remains available after hours. As a truly consolidated unit, we have also developed comfort with using tools such as WebEx and Teams to collaborate online. All of this is to say that we are confident in our ability to continue to provide excellent support for teaching, learning, and research in this challenging time.
Most library faculty and staff are now working remotely. No staff are working regularly at either Alpharetta or Decatur. Adhering to CDC guidelines for social distancing and hygiene, a few staff are choosing to continue working at least partial shifts in the other facilities. These team members are providing scanning services or assisting other staff members with acquisition of the technology resources they need to work from home.
We have taken several steps to enhance our ability to serve the GSU community:
We have retained most of the familiar structure of our home page, library.gsu.edu, but have highlighted a revised set of featured tools to the top of the page.
We have extended the hours of our chat reference service, beginning 30 March. We will monitor usage to determine if we need to add additional hours.
For personalized faculty assistance, subject and campus librarians listed at library.gsu.edu/services‐and‐spaces/research‐services/librarians remain the first line of contact. Services include assistance identifying licensed or open instructional resources, providing a library instruction session, or help to request the purchase of e‐books or streaming videos.
We have compiled a quick guide to tools and resources that may be of particular use for teaching and learning online at research.library.gsu.edu/onlineteaching.
We have changed all workshops for the semester, including advanced research data services training, to an online format.
Librarians are available for individual research consultations via web conferencing.
We are continuing to process GSU interlibrary loan requests for electronic resources and filling requests from other institutions.
Our copyright expert has updated her guide for using copyrighted material in instruction with specific recommendations when making this sudden change to online learning.
We have developed a workflow for triaging requests for materials, with first priority going to materials required for instruction. Steps include identifying current online access, seeking to license online access, referral to the appropriate subject or campus librarian to assist in seeking possible alternative resources, and scanning essential print materials for including in an iCollege course. We will continue to adapt this process as the situation unfolds.
We continue to offer desktop delivery (electronic) of select portions of physical materials to faculty and graduate students.
We continue to monitor changes in the resources that vendors and other organizations are making available. A couple key partners could open a wealth of new resources in the next week or two. (See the Internet Archive’s National Emergency Library as one example)
We have extended all loan periods for borrowed materials, including books, AV materials, and technology, through the end of the semester. We will waive any fines during this period.