Archer library open for (some) business
Library offering limited services
by Hammad Ali, Contributor
The University of Regina’s Fall 2020 semester commenced in early September. Most instruction is being managed online, and students, staff, and faculty members alike are being encouraged to only visit campus when absolutely necessary. How are different university services adapting to these circumstances, and what can students expect to help them navigate the semester? We spoke to the University librarian, Mr. Brett Waytuck, to find out what the Archer Library is doing to support students during the Fall 2020 semester.
At present, the Archer library is still not completely open to students. However, since the beginning of the Fall term, there are 40 computers and 17 solo study spaces available for students to book online. These are all located on the main floor, and students can make a booking for up to three hours at a time. In light of the current circumstances, computers and study spots are not available for walk-in use. The library’s collections are not available for students to browse in person; only the main floor is currently open.
However, students are able to make requests for specific books they need, which can then be picked up from the hallway by the Archer entrance. Unless subject to recall, all loans are good till the end of the Fall 2020 term. This is a change from the standard loan period of three weeks for undergraduate students. On a related note, the library waived all late fees until August 31, but has now reintroduced them since students are able to check out books for pickup or recall books. The library is also working on lockers where books will be placed for students to scan their student cards and pick up the material requested with minimal personal interaction. These are expected to be operational by the end of September. For access to archives, microfilms, and other special collections, arrangements can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Unfortunately, hardware like laptops, tablets, etc. are not available for loan until further notice.
Also for the Fall 2020 semester, textbooks being used for courses are not being placed on reserve. Instead, the library is working with faculty members to ensure that appropriate resources are being made available to students, usually through UR Courses. Students are also able to request books from any of the campus libraries, with all pickups being centrally handled by Archer. Among the other libraries on campus, Campion and Luther are closed. The First Nations University Library is open for limited hours, and has sign-in and screening processes in place for the duration of the Fall semester.
While in person facilities and services have had to be minimized, the library is working on supplementing these with online resources and services. The bulk of the resources in Archer library are available online, 24/7, for anyone with a valid student account and internet access regardless of their physical location. Students are also able to book Zoom appointments with staff and/or librarians for consultation or guidance with any project they are working on. Appointments can also be made to schedule an in-person visit to the library for access to special resources. The library is also in consultation with Hathitrust Digital Library. Once a formal agreement has been established, Archer Library will be able to circulate additional material in electronic format that is currently not possible to disseminate due to copyright concerns.
When asked about what to expect in the coming months, Mr. Waytuck mentioned that the library will be watching the University administration, and Canadian post-secondary institutes in general, to gradually work towards offering more services. They are also always very keen on hearing feedback from all library users on what is working, and what more they could be doing under the circumstances. A summary of all the current services and operating procedures can be found at the following URL: https://uregina.libguides.com/covid-19/students. Students are also able to consult a librarian about their needs and concerns through online chat at https://www.uregina.ca/library/help/chat-service.html.