When campus libraries reopen on Aug. 17, services will resume in phases. To begin the semester, the Hardin Library for the Health Sciences, the Main Library, and the Sciences Library will allow building access only to University of Iowa members with a valid Iowa One Card or UI Health Care Badge. Also, all campus libraries will have shorter hours, closed book stacks, and some study areas will be unavailable.
These measures allow for appropriate quarantine of returned materials, reduce concerns about cleaning, and support social distancing due to COVID-19. Access will vary by location. For example, the Music Library and Art Library will limit occupancy by restricting access to service desks only. At the Main Library, access to the fourth and fifth floors will be limited to staff only, thus reducing impact on custodians.
“The Libraries staff understand users will be disappointed that they will be unable to browse the book stacks and fully utilize library study areas,” says John Culshaw, university librarian. “We hope conditions will shift soon, enabling us to restore access and hours. In the meantime, our plan reflects those at other libraries, including our Big Ten peers.”
In addition to limiting the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the facility, closed stacks keep the Libraries in compliance with copyright agreements with HathiTrust Emergency Access Service (ETAS), which supplies emergency online access to a large portion of our collection. The ETAS service gives the Libraries access to nearly 50% of its print volumes. Find step-by-step access instructions for HathiTrust here. The ETAS service can remain available only while our stacks are closed.
Users can still borrow books by requesting book retrieval from the stacks at any campus library. Users are encouraged to request books in advance through Infohawk+. After requesting a book, users can choose from several ways to get the book. Faculty and staff can opt for delivery to campus offices. All borrowers, including community members, can request delivery by mail. Books borrowed from the Main Library’s collections can be picked up through a contactless service at the south entrance of the Main Library. Procedures vary by location; please check with your campus library for instructions.
As the semester unfolds, the Libraries will continue to monitor the situation. When deemed safe, the Libraries will consider extending hours and opening stacks for browsing.
Thank you for your patience as we navigate changing circumstances. Please contact us at any of our campus locations with questions regarding book access. Visit our fall 2020 FAQ for complete information about changes in library services.