Library policies, hours change for COVID-19


Rebecca Flieder

The reference section in the library.

COVID-19 has disrupted many campus functions to some extent, and the Willey Library is no exception, with reduced hours, reduced staffing, and reduced student access to the stacks.
In the years preceding fall semester 2020, the library could have up to 200 visitors a day. Now, the attendance can be as low as five. “People don’t come anymore,” Stephanie Alvarez, a work study student at the library, says. “The students that do come just use the computers. In the past there were more students that would come in and do homework.”
Compared to other semesters, this semester has seen a large decline in traffic. When asked about how the Fall 2020 semester compares to previous years, Sam Boss, director of both NVU libraries, said, “I’ve spent less time interacting with NVU community members in person. While I am happy to work with students, faculty and staff via Zoom, I really enjoy interacting with students in the classroom. I feel it is one of the best ways to reach students.”
With the 24-hour room now closed, traffic has decreased significantly. Students used to go in to write their essays or print their papers for classes. Now, stepping inside is like walking into a dark, desolate cave with empty cubicles.
The library was once open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays and Fridays, with the weekend hours being 12-6 p.m.  The new library hours are as follows: 8-10 a.m., 12-2 p.m. and 4-6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The weekends are closed.
“None of the stacks [shelves] are available for public use or student use,” said Alice Godin, the interlibrary loan supervisor on the Johnson campus. All of the shelves are closed to the public including the whole third floor. Students can no longer grab a book off a shelf to check it out. They now have to go to the circulation desk and ask an employee to get the book they need or go on the library catalog to look up the book they need and place a hold request.
These new guidelines may be confusing for new and returning students, but they are here to help both staff, students, and the population of Johnson avoid any health risks while still able to access the library’s resources.
“The COVID response is about creating an environment that is safe for the NVU community,” Boss says about the rationale behind these changes.
Despite these changes, library staff continue to maintain core services. There are five computers available for use upon request.
The first and second floors are available for students to use to study, as well as the second floor study room. The maximum capacity is 32 to 34.
“Even though we do close for a couple hours at a time, if you’re in here already I’m not going to kick you out,” says Jeff Angione, the circulation coordinator.