U of M libraries offer access beyond online catalogue

Improved access available for eligible students, faculty members

The U of M research community — particularly graduate students and faculty — have one less obstacle in their academic work amid the ongoing pandemic.

Starting July 15, as part of the gradual reopening of services, the University of Manitoba Libraries (UML) launched a curbside pickup program.

Eligible students and faculty are now able to request and access hard copies of items in the library collection.

Based out of Elizabeth Dafoe Library, the program features materials from all libraries on both U of M campuses.

While the curbside pickup program is only available to faculty, postdoctoral researchers and graduate students, a service that includes undergraduate students is in the works.

According to an announcement by Lisa O’Hara, university librarian, undergraduate students might need to wait for an equivalent service until September.

Lack of immediate access to physical resources delays research. Additionally, graduate students often require materials not available digitally.

The safety measures implemented — while necessary — could force some graduate students to purchase materials themselves.

Materials requested through this program will be quarantined before delivery for the safety of staff and students.

Results of a study released June 22 by the Reopening Archives, Libraries and Museums (REALM) project found that the virus responsible for causing COVID-19 is not detectable on library materials such as hardback book covers, plain paper pages and DVD cases after three days. The REALM project is in part executed by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, an organization in charge of research and policy for libraries and museums in the United States.

Requesting materials could take up to 10 days, quarantine and shipping included.

The curbside pickup measure comes as the second initiative aimed at offering access beyond the scope of materials available digitally.

On June 17, UML introduced on-demand scanning of items in the physical collection.

In accordance with copyright law, library staff will generally be scanning up to 10 per cent of an item. The library is also offering to purchase e-book versions of materials, if digital versions are available.

An aspect of graduate student life inevitably lost to the current situation is navigating the library halls in search of additional resources.

Online access to library resources and services has gone uninterrupted, but access to library facilities remains indefinitely suspended since its announcement March 20. Due dates for lent library items were extended until Aug. 21, but students may still turn in materials through the return bin outside the Elizabeth Dafoe Library.