HPU Libraries: COVID-Ready

by HPU Librarians 

In common with all areas on campus, HPU librarians with campus partners have been working diligently to prepare all of our library spaces for the start of the new school year. We take very seriously the health and well-being of all HPU family members who enter and use our library spaces – students, faculty, staff, visitors, as well as ourselves. All HPU librarians are fully committed to campus-wide efforts to help efforts to look after the health and well-being of all of us, and to minimize the spread of COVID-19.  

So, whether you are a firsttime visitor to our library spaces, or a returning member of our HPU family, we look forward to welcoming you in all three of our library spaces on campus. Smith Library is the main library at HPU, housing the bulk of our physical collections. Two other library spaces include the Martha Luck Comer Learning Commons (3rd floor, R.G. Wanek Center), and the Stout School of Education Resource Center (1st floor, SOE building).  

To help make your stays in all our library spaces as comfortable and as safe as possible for you, your friends or classmates, this is what we have been doing in anticipation of your arrival:  


Safety Guidelines for All Library Spaces 

Signage throughout all libraries provide guidance on what we expect from you in all our library spaces, in the effort to keep us all safe. Please take some time to familiarize yourself with what we are expecting all users in each of our libraries to do, realizing that each library is physically different, resulting in some variations between library spaces. 

Many of the “common sense” things we are telling you about, you will be very familiar with, and you are already being asked to do in other campus spaces. 

Social Distancing for Safe Studying 

In order to maintain appropriate social distancing, we rearranged furniture and removed chairs in all library spaces to help you keep 6 feet from others at all times.

To avoid passing each other on the stairs, we have instituted a “one-way” system for up- and down-stairways.  The stairs at the Wrenn end of Smith are for going upstairs, and those at the McEwen end are for downward journeys.  Door and floor signs are there to remind us all of this new one-way system! 

Small library spaces like the Smith Library elevator, Media Lab, Wanek printer room and the School of Education Resource Center have posted “maximum occupancy” limits to encourage safe use. 

Group study and collaboration is particularly difficult to accommodate while maintaining a distance. We did our best to space out collaboration tables to allow this type of work to continue safely. 

In addition to spacing all chairs 6 feet apart, we set up a system to enable us to sanitize shared work surfaces between uses. There is now a laminated sign for every table, with a “clean” and “dirty” side. When selecting a place to study, this enables you to see which surfaces are freshly sanitized.


Service Desks & Sanitation Measures

Social distancing and sanitation measures are particularly important at service desks. Plexiglass sneeze guards are in place at the circulation and reference desks, and a self-checkout system at Smith Library enables you to take out materials with minimal handling. Staff will wear masks and gloves when handling library materials, and all items are quarantined and sanitized between uses.

Reference appointments are available virtually and a second monitor is in place at the reference desk to enable social distancing. Don’t forget you can always chat with a librarian using the box on the library home page.

Headphones will no longer circulate and other equipment checkouts will be considered on a case-by-case basis. All course reserves will be online this semester.

Lastly, we ask that you sanitize your hands before and after browsing library collections, using the touch screen printers, or handling shared office supplies. Hand sanitizer stands are located at the entrance and throughout the library.


A Fluid Situation

Please be aware that we may need to change procedures as circumstances dictate in line with local, state and national guidelines. If that happens, we will keep you posted! 

We look forward to welcoming you back to your libraries, and making our time together in our shared spaces as safe and comfortable as we can!  If you can think of ways we can help to improve the experience you have while in our spaces, please do let us know – we are all in this learning experience together! 

For more on our efforts to prepare the library for your return, watch this short video by the HPU Health & Safety Task Force.