Brooks Library reopens with some changes

Levi Shields, Staff Reporter

Brooks Library has reopened with some changes and new services for students to get used to. Many changes were made to the library to comply with COVID-19 guidelines, including lowering the capacity of the building to 25%, having less chairs in the building, repurposing group study rooms into individual study rooms and closing at 9 p.m. rather than midnight.

Many of the services that the library once offered in-person have been moved to online, such as one-on-one appointments with librarians and special events such as author talks.

“I think we’ve managed to replicate just about everything virtually … Basically, if it can be virtual, we make it virtual,” Dean of Libraries Rebecca Lubas said.

According to Lubas, the Athletic Tutoring and Academic Tutoring services that are housed in the library are still offering some in-person services, but are mostly online.

The time spent fully online has allowed the library to be able to accommodate off-campus students better than they could before. Brooks Library has implemented a feature that allows students to order materials from the library online and have it mailed to them. This provides services to those who are fully online, those who are working online until it is safe to return to Ellensburg campus and those who are working from CWU’s many centers around the state.

Other precautions being taken include a plexi-glass shield in front of the service desk, less people working in the library at once and workers doing occasional walk-throughs of the building, ensuring that they are under 25% capacity and that everyone is wearing their masks.

One new precaution involving library materials is the quarantining and cleaning of returned books, laptops and other equipment. Associate Dean Sydney Thompson said there have been multiple scientific studies on how long the coronavirus remains on surfaces, inspiring this new precaution.

Another change is the closing of the music room on the fourth floor. While music is still available to check out, it is stored in a study room and by appointment only. Lubas said this is because the music room had too many small, tight spaces. Archives and Special Collections are by appointment only as well.

A few new resources are now available to students as well. One of these is RapidILL, an inter-library loan service that CWU was not a part of before. It provides students with electronic copies of articles and book chapters that CWU does not own in the library. Materials could be provided as quickly as a matter of minutes, but the average is about 12 hours, Thompson said. 

Other new resources include an online video service called Academic Video Online (AVOn,) which provides more than 67,000 educational titles, Digital Theater Plus, which provides resources related to British theatre productions and Music Online: Classical Scores Library, which is a digital collection of classical music. These resources can be found under databases on the library’s website.

Students who have any questions about the library and its services can find options on the library’s website, including a 24/7 live chat option.