UW Libraries Blog

June 2, 2020

Preparing for Summer and Fall Quarter: What You Need to Know Now

Lauren Pressley- Associate Dean, Research & Learning Services

This post was updated on 7/6/2020

We know our UW community is eager for information to help plan for summer quarter and beyond. The UW Libraries is working in close partnership with University leadership and community partners to assess and plan for return-to-work/return-to-school following the new UW Safe Start protocols. Our decisions will be guided by our shared values and mission of providing access and excellence while ensuring the maximum health and safety for Libraries’ staff and our users.  We have convened dedicated working teams to focus specifically on developing future operational plans. These plans will be based on forthcoming updated guidelines from the State and University, in line with the state’s phased reopening approach.

While there is no way to predict when exactly new guidelines will be available to inform potential operational changes, there is some information and guidance specific to the Libraries that can help faculty and staff plan under such uncertain conditions:

1)  Summer Quarter- Plan to utilize online/electronic materials: Summer quarter course reserves will remain 100% online/e-resources. This UW Libraries blog post is a great resource for navigating available online resources and Libraries support.

 2)  Access to physical materials and curb-side pick up:  Curbside pick-up will not commence immediately upon Libraries entering Phase 2, but it is a service we hope to provide as soon as it’s feasible – see this blog for more information. In accordance with state public health and safety guidelines, Libraries’ buildings remain closed, and staff are not working on-site to facilitate any type of access to physical materials. Our back-to-work/back-to-school planning teams are evaluating a number of scenarios to potentially enable some access to physical collections (based on future changes to state/University guidelines), but access at this time is not feasible under existing protocols and we do not expect a change in status until a Phase 3 scenario at this time.

3)  Fall quarter- Plan to utilize online/electronic materials: Because we do not know how access to campus and the Libraries will change come fall quarter, we advise instructors who are teaching in fall 2020 to plan for online course readings and materials to the greatest extent possible: existing UW collections, including e-books, journal articles, streaming media,  and open educational resources/open textbooksThere are many reasons to support an “online only” model, and more detailed guidance and information can be found in the post “Faculty Guidance for Choosing Online Materials”. Please also consider the potential that some students will continue classes online only, perhaps in another state or country, and may not have access to physical collections.

4)  Now is the best time to engage with Libraries’ staff: While future operational plans are unknown at this time, planning now for fall quarter allows adequate time for Libraries’ staff to assist in identifying alternate options for e-resources and other alternatives that may not have been possible in spring quarter due to the short window of time between UW/Libraries’ building closures and the start of spring quarter. Take advantage of the time we have now and our Librarians subject expertise while it is most accessible. 

5)  The importance of HathiTrust to Libraries re-opening strategy: As we consider multiple options for re-opening, any approach for a gradual re-opening will be balanced with the importance of the Universities’ HathiTrust partnership that currently provides electronic access to more than 1.7 million books in our print collection that are not physically accessible while the Libraries’ buildings are closed. Please note that this access is a temporary benefit for UW members during this emergency situation. Once the UW Libraries restores access to our physical collections, this temporary online access will be shut off and will not be available to students who continue learning remotely (out-of-state, or internationally). For this reason, we advise faculty to work with subject Librarians to identify course materials that will be consistently available regardless of Libraries’ operations and access to physical materials.

We will continue to share new information and updates to our operations as they evolve on our COVID-19 Update webpage and through our Libraries’ communications channels. As always, our Libraries’ staff are here to answer your questions anytime. We understand that not having access to the Libraries’ buildings is a frustrating situation for our entire UW community, and we thank you for your patience and understanding as we work through the next phase of operational changes, guided by our commitment to the health and safety of our employees and all UW Libraries’ users.

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