While the UP Library has been closed since mid-March due to Covid-19, our ongoing response to the situation has been dynamic. The Library staff members have continued to offer virtual services to the best of their ability, and feedback from students and staff has been overwhelmingly positive. A phased re-opening of the UP Library commenced in June. All of the libraries were deep-cleaned prior to re-opening and a trial run was conducted to ensure all processes ran smoothly. The official reopening date for the first phase was 19 June: the library was open for two days a week and services were limited to book collection and drop-off for members of the UP community with permits to access campus. The digitisation requests have been received in large numbers, and this has been the most effective way to assist UP students and staff.
Various new features have been introduced between May and August to help keep the Library connected to our students and staff:
The second semester commenced on 3 August and a link to the Library’s A-Z Guide of available resources and services has been circulated campus-wide and on all social media platforms. The A-Z Guide provides details of the procedures regarding Library access, borrowing and returning books, research assistance and available training.
The Library has also begun a series of Scholarly Communications webinars, starting with Academic integrity in the age of misinformation which featured a presentation from the vice-chancellor, Prof Tawana Kupe. There has been a fantastic response so far, and there are a few more exciting webinars lined up.
Finally, health and safety has been a priority for the Library and all of our staff who have returned to the Library have received a UP Library-branded mask as well as hand sanitiser. Sneeze screens have been installed at the counters and the Covid-19 signage is clear throughout the library. Social distancing messages and markers are on display and the MakerSpace team has printed social-distancing cones and hooks for opening doors (also provided to staff members). With all of the above in place, the Library is planning for the next phase of re-opening, increasing services and access according to the limitations of the National Lockdown level 2. Our staff have been incredible during this very challenging period and their efforts are much appreciated.
Go Team!- Author: Nikki Haw