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The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

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Librarians adjust Seymour Library for continued use in pandemic

Librarians+adjust+Seymour+Library+for+continued+use+in+pandemic

View of the first floor of Seymour Library. (Rob Nguyen/TKS)

View of the first floor of Seymour Library. (Rob Nguyen/TKS)

A significant decrease in students using the library resources worries the librarians as Knox goes back into the hybrid environment.

As students head back to their dorms and merge into hybrid learning, Assistant Librarian for Research & Instruction Rebecca Yowler is hoping that students will start to feel comfortable enough to visit the library given their updated safety precautions. 

“Oh by the way, the librarians are still doing the library thing! We don’t want students to think that we’ve just abandoned the library,” Yowler said.

Now that the Knox community has been through a hybrid term back in the fall, Yowler hopes to start to see more students visit the library, whether to study or to pick up resources. In the fall, Yowler mentioned that although the librarians never left and Seymour Library was open and available, it was rare to see anybody walk through the doors. 

“I know when I would check in, I would ask how many people are around, and I would get like six. Usually, you know the library, on a Thursday night, six is not the number. That’s how drastic it was in that fall hybrid term. We were averaging fewer than 20 students in the building which is great for safety, but I mean, it’s bad for us because, you know, what are we doing?” said Yowler.

In order to help provide resources and reference for students, the librarians have made major changes in hopes of connecting to students, but have felt a serious lack of interaction with the Knox community. 

One change was adding double monitors in order to have social distance while still being able to see computer screens when getting assistance from reference librarians. Along with this, there is air filtration throughout the building, and tables and chairs have been distanced from one another to allow studying. Cleaning stations are easily accessible throughout the library, excluding the basement and third floor which are closed for capacity purposes. 

To help avoid the spread of bacteria, the library employees have been pulling books from the shelves through requests made on KnoxPrimo, the library service that can be found through Knox accounts. This has helped limit the amount of books that go into quarantine, which has been the recommendation from the CDC—isolating books for roughly 72 hours. 

“We have an area in the library set up for quarantining our books, so they go sit in this special place for 72 hours. Anything that comes in or goes out through interlibrary loan or iShare or any of that, our agreement with those sources is that we’ll let things sit before we send them back,” Yowler said.

Another solution to sharing resources with students all over the country is the use of ebooks. Yowler notes that the library has ordered more ebooks in the past year than ever before in the history of the library. All the information on how to do this is on the library website, which you can click here. The librarians are waiting to answer questions at all times with their website’s chat feature. 

With the constant changes and uncertainty of the pandemic, the employment at the library had to be cut drastically. Yowler mentions having to adjust the staff to the bare basics for the library to run. Many student employees have not been able to continue working. 

Senior Solis Scriver has continued to work with the library due to living off campus and staying in Galesburg during the much of the pandemic. Scriver mentions that with the many changes in the system at the library, every employee has had to learn fast. 

“They had to cut down so much staffing at the same time that they changed systems. It’s been a lot of learning experiences and moving quickly. The people that are there are working so hard and trying to make the best of it,” Scriver said, “I’ve been so lucky in terms of how smoothly things are going for me, which is largely due to the support I get there.”

These changes took effect in the fall, but through the influx of information that the Knox student body receives, Yowler worries that the library services have gotten lost or forgotten with the pandemic. More than anything, she wants students to know that the library is still available. 

“We’re here, you can use the building, and if you’re not comfortable coming in the building, the librarians are still available. We didn’t go anywhere,” Yowler said. “The reason we got into this is not to become rich, most of us got into this because we wanted to help students, and that’s what we miss.”

Beginning February 22, Seymour Library and the Amott Science Commons hours are Sunday through Thursday 12:00 pm–10:00 pm, Friday 12:00–6:00pm and Saturday 12:00pm–5:00 pm. 

For reference help, librarians are available Sunday 1:00 pm–5:00pm and 6:00pm–10:00pm, Monday through Thursday 12:00pm–5:00pm, and 6:00pm–10:00pm and Friday 12:00pm–5:00pm.

For more information on how the library is running or how to access resources and materials, visit https://knox.libguides.com/libraryresources to ask questions using the “Ask Us” tab.

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