Brooks Library implements COVID-19 safety measures


Casey Rothgeb

To ensure safety the library archives had to limit the number of people allowed to visit.

Star Diavolikis, Staff Reporter

Brooks Library has reopened for fall quarter, and due to COVID-19, the archives section has made specific adjustments. These include having to schedule an appointment, increasing sanitary and safety procedures and limiting the number of staff and students allowed in the archives section at a time. Though there are more procedures involved, the archives section is working to offer the same services as before.

Before students may come to the archives section, they have to make an appointment and notify the archivists on what material they plan on viewing. This is due to not being able to check the materials out. 

This is a picture of a spread out classroom in the library. (Casey Rothgeb)

Upon entry, there are disposable face masks available, and patrons must wash their hands and put on gloves before being allowed to handle material. Employees wear both face masks and face shields for extra safety when talking to a patron. 

The arrangement of the room has changed as well, with the number of tables going down from six to three and all of them being spaced six feet apart. Once the patron is gone, everything that was touched will be disinfected by staff, such as the table and chair.

After viewing the material and returning it, the archivist then takes the archive to a quarantine area and leaves it in there for four days. 

Julia Stringfellow, the university archivist, is confident the procedures set in place are safe for staff and visitors. 

“I feel really good with the library. I mean, they have been very thorough in the planning of the reopening,” Stringfellow said. “I feel like everything that could’ve been done was done for us to safely reopen. I feel good coming into the library and working.” 

Marty Blackson, a senior archivist and lecturer, said he also feels safe both in the library and on campus. 

The archives section of the library contains a massive amount of material that tends to benefit students in history, anthropology and museum study majors most, according to Stringfellow.

There are three collection sections available to view: university materials, regional history and special collections. University materials include archives of documented events that happened on campus and general history of CWU. Regional history materials include materials dedicated to all of central Washington, such as mining and lumber industry history. The regional history covers Ellensburg as well as all eight local counties. Special collection materials focus on Native American history and literature created by authors in this region. University and regional history are not only print materials as they both include photographs, oral materials and audio-visual materials. 

“We have some great photograph collections going back to the early days of university, and we have a lot of records related to those early days,” Blackson said.

Besides these physical archives, there is a digital collection of archives, and classes are hosted by the archivists in order to assist students in a lecture format. Online events can also be found on the Brooks Library webpage.

To create an appointment to visit the archives section in Brooks Library, send an email to [email protected] or call (509) 963-1717. 

“We haven’t had any requests for appointments,” Stringfellow said. “I’m sure that’s going to change as students are assigned research projects and need to use materials in the archives.”