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Library Spotlight: The University Library Reopens for Fall 2021

eNews Edition: Fall 2021

Contributed by Katherine Dabbour

Students studying in the CSUN University Library Learning Commons
CSUN student studying in the Library’s Learning Commons.

In a recent survey of CSUN students that asked what having the University Library reopening this fall means to them, one commentor summarized the other respondents’ sentiments:

It would mean that I could have a place away from home to study. During the pandemic, it was hard to concentrate at home. Having the option of a quiet area at the library would be a stress reliever for me. I would also get to feel like I am a part of my campus.

Certainly, quiet study space is no surprise, even in a Library as lively as ours where three out of four floors allow collaborative study, and 17 group study rooms are usually in constant use. However, what was poignant about this comment and others was the emphasis on community, of feeling part of a campus again. With only 30% of classes having an on-campus component, whether students are attending classes in-person, online, in a hybrid format, or a mix of all three, having the Library open again provides a sense of community that has been missing over the last year and a half.

So, what is the Library doing to provide quiet study space, that sense of community, and access to resources and services this fall?

Most importantly, the Library is back to being open to current CSUN students, faculty (including emeritus and adjuncts), and staff 79 out of the 84 hours per week that we were open prior to closing at the end of March 2020, when the campus pivoted to virtual instruction due to COVID. In addition, most service desks are open their usual hours, with Special Collections & Archives and the Creative Media Studio open by appointment only. The Library will also follow its usual extended hours schedule the days leading to and during December finals.

materials in a pickup locker at CSUN University Library
Library materials inside our Locker Pickup Service

CSUN users are once again able to enter the Library, browse the books, DVDs/CDs, and other resources, and check out materials from the three circulating collections: “Main” (includes upper floor stacks, Stored/ASRS, and Bestsellers), Teacher Curriculum Center/Music & Media, and Course Reserves (mostly in-library use).

For added safety and convenience, for both CSUN users and CSUN Library cardholders who are currently not allowed to enter the Library (Friends of the Library, Legacy/Lifetime Alumni Association members, and TCC Cardholders), the exterior Locker Pickup Service is available to pick up checked out materials, and CSUN users can also pick up their materials borrowed via Interlibrary Loan/CSU+. See the CSUN Library Locker Pickup Service You Tube video for a glimpse of our lockers in action.

As usual, the Library’s electronic books, articles, journals, and streaming media continue to receive high use. Since spring 2021, this includes remote online access to e-textbooks paid out of federal “CARES Act” funds to cover the costs to “rent” many electronic textbook titles on behalf of CSUN students through a product called BibliU.

In addition to desktop computers, students can once again borrow laptops, tablets, hotspots, multimedia equipment from the Creative Media Studio, and other devices from the Library Technology Services desk, located in the Learning Commons. Students can also make appointments for 3D printing and use of the CMS Recording Studio. In addition, Lab Printing @ CSUN and scanners are also available.

Librarians are providing reference and consultation services through our Ask a Librarian services, which now includes in-person help at the Learning Commons Reference desk. Library instruction is offered online, both synchronously and asynchronously, and face-to-face on campus is also an option. Additionally, general and specialized self-guided tutorials and research guides are always available.

Finally, another comment from the aforementioned survey nicely summarizes how Library employees feel about seeing our students, faculty, and staff in the Library, too:

The library opening means a lot! … [We are] excited to see it open in all its glory!