Campus Coronavirus News

Library will reopen with limited capacity, accommodations this fall

Limited computers and distanced furniture are some adjustments M.D. Anderson Libary will take when reopening. | File photo

Limited computers and distanced furniture are some adjustments M.D. Anderson Libary will take when reopening. | File photo

The M.D. Anderson Library will be physically open this fall with social distancing and safety accommodations. 

“The M.D. Anderson Library will offer limited in-person services at the start of the fall semester with plans to bring additional services back when able to do so safely and efficiently,” said head of Information and Access Services for UH Libraries Lee Hilyer.

Access will be limited to specific areas on the first three floors of the M.D. Anderson Library with a maximum number of people allowed inside at a time, according to Hilyer. Library hours will also be shortened when it first reopens; specifications for these changes are still being decided upon.

Hilyer said that the furniture in the library will be arranged to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guideline of staying six feet apart. The number of computers on the first floor will also be reduced in order to keep students further apart while using them.

More safety precautions include the installation of touch-free faucets and paper towel dispensers in the restrooms, as well as plexiglass shields at the service desk and rows of computers.

There will be extensive cleaning by housekeeping services after hours and staff sanitizing frequently touched areas throughout the day.

Food and beverages won’t be allowed inside until further notice, and the microwaves won’t be available for use, Hilyer said.

Hilyer said that library staff is following guidelines set by federal, state and county officials. As a part of this, the library will have virtual resources to encourage social distancing. 

“We are currently offering many services remotely to users now, including access to our electronic databases and journals, consultations with subject librarians, retrieving and mailing books and photocopies to users,” Hilyer said.

When M.D. Anderson Library opens for the fall semester, services will include desktop computers, printing and book checkout. Technology items and group study rooms won’t be available for reservation, in addition to some library areas being closed.

Librarians can be contacted by email, chat or video conference for references; research consultations and physical books can be mailed out. The services that have been offered remotely since the shutdown earlier this year will still be available. 

“We will be encouraging users to limit their time in the library,” Hilyer said. “If we reopen then need to shut down again, we have contingency plans in place and will be able to continue some services remotely.”

Library staff physically present at the library are currently working from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, readily available to answer questions. For detailed information on which library services are currently available, community members can visit the library website

For more of The Cougar’s coronavirus coverage, click here.

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