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Special Interest Group Archive: Resource Sharing 06/24/2020

These are the notes from meetings dating back to 2015.

June 24, 2020

We held the Resource Sharing SIG via Zoom on Tuesday, May 26. Theresa Davis from Mount Saint Mary College was our convener.


What are you re-opening plans for ILL? Any plans for curbside? 

-- One library is completely shut down -- no physical materials are being accepted or lent. Only sending / retrieving ILL articles. 

-- One library is trying to buy e-books for faculty requesting specific materials. However, they are starting curbside soon, so they will send them physical items if they’re available.  

-- Starting using streaming platforms for videos, which can be challenging due to budget cuts. 

-- One public library has been doing curbside for the past three weeks. 

-- All items being returned are cleaned. 


Does anyone have students living in the residence halls?

-- Colleges have been trying to get as many students off campus as possible. 

-- Some people had to stay - international students have had a harder time leaving. 

-- Hoping to re-open dorms for the fall semester. 


Re-opening is a bit like a choose your adventure story. There is a book of plans but minimal overall guidance. A lot of questions about how we can keep typical library items clean. 


What do you think about quarantining ILL books? 

-- The book is in delivery for several days. It makes more sense to quarantine the packages items come in rather than the items themselves. 

-- ELD items, however, are being handled, sorted -- it is probably a good idea to quarantine those afterwards. 

-- Some prefer to have things quarantined on a specific cart. 

-- Cleaning becomes a challenge when it’s not our item. You’re not supposed to put stickers on any items or try to repair any damage. Cleaning could damage the integrity of the item. 


Publishers have been increasing the prices of e-books recently. This is a particular challenge during covid-19 when libraries are buying more materials. 


Has there any been conversations about universally extending due dates? 

-- The SUNY system implemented unified loan periods when it switched to Alma. Each library can choose how they want to extend due dates. Many of the things outside the SUNY system have been automatically extended. 

-- One college extended every item due date until August. 

-- In RCLS, each library can come up with their own policies on how that can be handled. Some libraries are extending while others are not. 


Has this experience taught you anything about where ILL is headed?

-- It has changed how things are done. 

-- Digital rights management has become more of a consideration.  

-- There are a lof of questions about ILL going forward, such as: are ILLs going to be reduced now that we have more e-books in the system?

-- ILL stats are down with classes reduced. 

-- Students have been moving away from physical copies in general. 

-- Would like to see ILL rights be applied to e-books - remove some of the restrictions for use. 


Reserves -- are there any thoughts on decontaminating those when they are being used frequently? 

-- Planning to get e-books for reserves. If they request a print one, going to scan them. 

-- One library is going to employ open reserves. It works on the honor system; there is a sign in / sign out sheet for items. It puts the burden on the student to clean the item once it gets put on the shelf. 

-- It’s not practical to use the current reserves system. There is too much handling of one item in a short period of time. It can’t reasonably be cleaned every time it’s returned to library staff.  Overall there would be too much exposure to the people involved, and it’s still not clear how much cleaners could damage materials. 

-- However, that plan puts a lot of responsibility in the hands of the students. 

-- Why don’t teachers and faculty change the way they’re teaching to accommodate the current situation? They could formulate their lesson plans and incorporate digital copies of items / OERs. 

-- This could force us to move in a different direction. 


There are a lot of frustrations with administrative silence regarding plans for the future. Need information on hours, limitations on the amount of students who can be allowed in the library. 

-- One college purchased plexiglass for the circulation desk. Part of the concern is that the reference desk wasn’t going to use the glass - just going to rely on masks. Who is going to police that, though? How will accomodations be handled for people who can’t wear masks? 

-- Do we shut down certain rooms, take away chairs from computers to limit the distance between people?

-- One library recently had an architect go through the library to make sure everything was socially distanced. 

-- Standing plexiglass shields - works for circulation but down at the reference desk you work directly with students. How will you have a conversation? Or show students things? 

-- This is going to have to change going forward. 

-- So far, thinking about keeping virtual reference. Have a zoom room available or a virtual chat. 

-- Moving to libanswers for chat & 24/7 reference. 


Some libraries are thinking of closing their stacks and using a paper form for staff to go and retrieve their items. This will help enforce social distancing. 

-- Use caution tape to keep people out. 

-- Staff will still need access to the stacks -- need to create a way that closes it off to students and provides easier access to staff. 

-- There’s an instagram dedicated to implementing social distancing at libraries: 

-- With no definitive answers or leadership, there is a lot of frustration.

-- Would want to hear reassurance from the president of the college on what needs to be done, and not just before classes begin again. 


The next meeting is scheduled for August 6th at 11. 

Southeastern NY Library Resources Council
21 South Elting Corners Road | Highland, NY 12528
Phone: (845) 883-9065