October 31, 2020

Library works to accommodate students while following CDC guidelines

Emerson Library has worked to create space for commuters and keep students safe during COVID-19.

Dean Eileen Condon moves towards altering the library set-up to protect Webster students. Emerson Library has instituted new rules and practices to ensure the safety of the students and faculty. 

“We want to help as many people as we can,” Condon said.  

The library introduced protections like glass at the checkouts, health screenings at the entrance and social distancing this semester. There’s now a table with books in plastic bags on the way in to ensure students who do not wish to set foot in the library can pick up their books. 

“We also use couriers,” Condon said. “We moved furniture around to encourage social distancing and put it in the meeting rooms.” 

The library has also closed down the cyber cafe in hopes to continue social distancing. Librarians set-up areas for commuter students to use for online classes they can’t make it home for. Each is first-come, first-serve. All the library asks is each student cleanup after themselves. 

Political Science major Fahima Ban Ali is in her first year at Webster. She is a student who uses the tables for her classes. Each table is set up in a quiet area on the second floor.  She finds the area useful for her as a commuter student. 

“I think one of the best things is opening the library in-person,” Ban Ali said. 

She was expecting all of her classes to be online and was surprised by the in-person classes. The biggest downside for her is being unable to have a study group due to the rooms being closed and filled with furniture.

Condon began encouraging students to start using online databases, books and other amenities to lower in-person contact. She and the other librarians worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to meet the safety standards for the campus. Following this standard, any returned or touched books go into quarantine for three days inside a sealed cabinet.

Student Whitley Foeher appreciates the changes and works more with the online resources. With COVID-19, she felt unsafe coming to the library. 

“I’m thankful for the online resources,” Foeher said.

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