LITS Fall Newsletter: BMC Libraries and Associated Services for Fall 2020

Sent to faculty, staff, undergraduate, graduate, postbac, and emeriti listservs:

Welcome to the LITS Fall Newsletter!

These messages collect important information and reminders about library and information technology services that are new or different for the fall 2020 semester.  Watch for future issues into September.

I’m writing with an overview of fall library plans and a few associated LITS service updates as the fall semester gets underway. You can find all of this information for reference, as well as other newsletters, on the LITS Blog. Subscribe here to receive blog updates by email.

Our goals are to support the educational and scholarly missions of the College this fall and to do so with a priority focus on safety measures. These include masks worn at all times in areas with more than one person, six feet or more of social distancing, hand sanitizer available near the doors and disinfectant available to staff and patrons for cleaning any surfaces that we touch, Plexiglass at the service desks, and frequent hand washing.

Starting on September 8 through November 21, BiCo community members will be able to access Canaday and Carpenter via swipe card access during the library open hours. The library buildings will not be open to the public beyond BiCo community members due to the College’s restriction on visitors and our HathiTrust agreement, and similarly we will not have 24-hour access during the fall.

Library hours for Canaday and Carpenter for the start of the fall semester will be these (please consult the LITS website for current library hours):

  • M-Th – 8am-10pm
  • F – 8am-8pm
  • Sat – 9am-8pm
  • Sun – closed

The majority of this message below details the spaces and services that will be available this fall when the College is operating at Level 1, “normal, de-densified” fall operations. First, we include a note here about how the Libraries and other LITS services will be operating while the College is at Level 2 (see President Cassidy’s email from Sept. 1). We’ll communicate about the status of LITS services throughout the semester via the site.

Level 2 Library and LITS Operations (Sept. 8 until at least Sept. 14):

  • We will modify our Level 1 operations, which we describe in full below, by opening Canaday and Carpenter for the following in-person services only:
    • Pickup of materials at the Circulation Desks (see “access to library books and other materials” in the Level 1 section for details)
    • Printing (we strongly encourage you to bring your own computer to print from where possible, but we’ll have a couple of public machines designated for this purpose as a backup for those who don’t have a computer and need to print)
    • Pickup of loaner laptops by appointment at the Help Desk (no walk-in service at the Help Desk during Level 2 operations, though Help Desk staff and student employees will be fielding calls and tickets)
  • Patrons can request an appointment to visit the Special Collections Reading Room.
  • The Makerspace will delay the start of student appointments in the space until Level 1 operations, but will start during Level 2 with scheduled pickup of kits for making.

Level 1 Library and LITS Operations:

  • Access to library books and other materials:
    • We’ll page books and journals daily for pickup whenever the circulation desks are open at Canaday and Carpenter. Collier Library will be completely closed to patrons this fall due to inadequate ventilation, and physical materials from Collier will continue to be paged upon request and available for pickup at the Canaday Circulation Desk. We have lifted the summer restrictions on the number of items patrons can request. The stacks at Canaday and Carpenter and the upper floors and B level at Canaday will be cordoned off with signage to indicate that these areas are restricted.
    • There will be a 72-hour quarantine of returned materials, but not a quarantine on materials you request, since the student workers will be taking safety precautions when paging books that we would not expect people using books at home to do.
    • Most formerly non-circulating resources at Carpenter can now be checked out. Some items (double folios; irreplaceable volumes like excavation reports) will remain in-house use only, but community members will be able to request access to these books by appointment.
    • We are retaining HathiTrust emergency temporary digital access (ETAS) to many of our print books at least through the fall semester while we continue to figure out the best ways to provide the most robust access to print and digital resources during our hybrid and changeable situation.
    • InterLibrary Loan (ILL) for electronic items has continued, and we’ll continue to increase physical ILL where possible, though many libraries will remain closed through the fall and many have reduced staffing levels, so availability of physical items via ILL will be somewhat limited.
    • We will continue to circulate non-Hathi ETAS physical materials within TriCo via the TriCollege Libraries van (this service re-started July 27).
    • We will not have physical reserves this year – these materials circulate too frequently through too many hands to be appropriately quarantined. We are working actively with faculty and the bookshop to ensure the greatest possible availability of course texts for classes by other means.
  • Study spaces:
    • Canaday and Carpenter will offer limited socially distanced study seats by reservation for specific periods of time in order to equitably share the available space. Study space will also be available in the Park Science new addition, and we’ll encourage students to study outdoors when the weather permits.
    • We are using the Springshare “Seats” application for reserving seats at Canaday and Carpenter, and we will keep an eye on the space to be sure seats remain socially distanced and occupancy doesn’t exceed the seating we’ve arranged. We will begin the semester with a limited number of reservable seats, ~20 each at Canaday and Carpenter. As we confirm that initial testing results during the quarantine period are coming back with a low positivity level and see that the rates of adherence community-wide to safety protocols are high, we’ll expand during the first month of classes to the full occupancy of ~60 seats at Canaday (on the 1st floor and A level), and a similar number at Carpenter. Community members who need to study in the library will be able to reserve a seat using a reservation system that will allow patrons to book seats in advance for blocks of up to three hours at a time (we’ll assess how this is going in the early weeks and beyond to figure out the timing so that as many people as possible can find seats, and those who need blocks of uninterrupted study will be able to find longer reservation periods). More information will follow on how to use Seats when it goes live.
    • Carrels will not be assigned to individuals or sets of individuals this fall, but some socially distanced carrels will be available to reserve along with other study seats. We need to have carrels and other surfaces cleared regularly throughout the day so that they’re cleaned consistently, and having belongings stored at the carrels does not work for keeping the surfaces cleaned. We also need to provide equitable access to reserved study spaces for all who need to work in the library. You’ll be able to reserve a seat in advance. We believe that you will find ample numbers of seats to reserve in the library, even with our COVID social distancing and disinfecting requirements, and we will monitor and adjust access to space as needed.
    • Lockers are available in the lower level of Carpenter for anyone who wants to store personal belongings or checked-out library materials. We have ample lockers, so these will be a resource fully available to anyone who wants to make use of them.
    • Limited video screening facilities will be available.
  • Reference and research support have continued unabated and will continue to be conducted largely through virtual consultations with individuals and online meetings with classes.
  • Special Collections:
    • BiCo community members can make appointments to work with Special Collections materials in the Special Collections Reading Room. Patrons will be seated one person per table, and one staff member will be at the desk, to allow for social distancing.
    • Small groups (up to 3) can make appointments to work with Special Collections materials and staff in the Special Collections Seminar Room.
    • The 3rd Floor of Old Library is available on an appointment basis for 1-2 people to consult collections stored in Old Library or as overflow space for consulting other Special Collections materials.
    • The Rare Book Room will be open from 10am – 4pm Monday through Friday to allow community members to view the Children’s Book exhibition.  Appointments are not necessary, but there will be signage limiting access to the space to no more than 10 at any one time with masks and appropriate social distancing.  The Rare Book Room may also be used for small (no more than 10-person) class groups or events that are scheduled through Special Collections.
    • Visible Storage will be set up by Special Collections in the 2nd-floor gallery to allow contactless study of materials related to courses.
  • Public computers, access to software, and public printers/scanners/copiers:
    • Several socially distanced public workstations have been set up in the Park extension and in the libraries. Public labs will generally not be accessible to the community and instead have been transformed into computer “farms” so that any community member can access the computers and associated software remotely.
    • Remote access to software will be available using new services, LabStats for remote access to public machines and software, and Apporto, a cloud-based service that allows web-based access to Mac software and other specialized software typically found on public lab machines (SPSS, ArcGIS, Adobe software, etc.). You can connect to a computer on campus through Remote Desktop here or through a web interface here.
    • The multi-function printers with scanning and copying capability will remain available in Carpenter and Canaday. Some have been moved to slightly new locations in the libraries for social distancing between printers. We can also advise about scanner apps for your phone (we recommend in particular Microsoft Office Lens for iPhone or Android, which will allow you to save scans to your OneDrive from your phone).
    • We will continue to lend equipment by appointment via the Help Desk at Canaday.
  • For the limited number of classrooms that will be in use in Carpenter, students in these classes are encouraged to arrive just in time for class and not to congregate in the narrow areas near the classrooms in order to maintain safe social distance.
  • Please enter Carpenter via Old Library; the roof entrance will be locked.
  • Elevators in the libraries should be used by only 1 person at a time.
  • The Makerspace at Park will be open in a limited way to train student employees and then to enable small groups (~3-4 people at a time) to participate in brief demos and activities. Most making will happen by way of kits that students and other community members can take away with them after the brief demo, as well as through virtual programming throughout the year.
  • The Writing Center will be open during Canaday’s open hours and will offer a combination of on-site and virtual programming. Please check the Writing Center website or contact Director Jen Callaghan ( for additional information.

We will plan to start the fall this way and will be open to modifying our approach at any juncture beyond that if we find that this model is not meeting community needs. As College plans evolve, our working assumptions may need to change along with them, and in each case we’ll have contingency plans ready for any period when we need to shift to more remote/limited access and services.

A few reminders while we’re here…

As always, please reach out to or with any questions. We’re working collaboratively through these channels to assess needs, track requests, and provide consultation in ongoing ways.

All best,