Starting Aug. 24, Herman B Wells Library will operate with new hours and modify student access to services and study spaces, according to IU Libraries’ website.
Wells Library’s limited access hours are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. The library is closed on Saturdays.Students are able to reserve seats in the library this semester. However, not all seats will be available for reservation throughout these hours.
Diane Dallis-Comentale, associate dean for planning and administration at IU Libraries, said these hours are based on data for the hours with highest library use and the campus schedule of classes.
All East Tower floors will be closed except for the Scholars’ Commons on the first floor. The Scholars’ Commons and West Tower floors will be open but only for reserved socially-distanced seating.
Power outlets are not guaranteed for all seats, according to the library website. Group study will not be allowed or available for reservation, and all collaboration rooms will be single-person study rooms.
Students can reserve specific seats online for one to three hours in both Wells Library and other available campus study spaces up to one week in advance. The library will send an email confirmation, with which students can check into their seats with library staff. Dallis-Comentale said students will be limited to one reservation per library per day.
She said 500 reserved seats will be available in Wells Library during the first few weeks of the fall semester, down from roughly 2,000 in pre-pandemic operations. Dallis-Comentale said the limited number of seats is for maintaining social distancing. The library might increase seating if it can find ways to do so while still keeping students socially distant, she said.
“We want there to be something normal about this fall, and we’re hoping that coming in the library at least makes people feel like something that’s regular,” she said. “We want to do this right for people, but we have to do it safely.”
Arriving at Wells Library
With the south entrance under construction, students can only enter through the north entrance or the south patio entrance on the ground floor. Students will need to show their email reservation confirmations to student employees from the Healthy Operations Support Team. Waiting seats are available in the lobby for students who arrive before their reservation times.
HOST members are located in front of the East and West Tower entrances and near the elevators on the ground floor. They show the way to the reserved seats and are responsible for patrolling library spaces to help students and ensure safe practices.
Health and safety measures
All students are required to wear a mask for the entire duration at their reserved study spaces, including the single-person enclosed study rooms. For this reason, no food will be allowed in the library. In line with IU Dining’s policies for the 2020-21 school year, no dine-in will be available, but grab-and-go meal pickup can be purchased at the Bookmarket Eatery.
Students are also responsible for cleaning their own spaces or workstations before and after use, which Dallis-Comentale said is because of a lack of cleaning staff. However, she said wipes, hand sanitizers and other cleaning supplies will be available all over the library.
Library cleaning staff will do a deep cleaning of the library spaces every night, she said.
Only two people are allowed in each of the Wells Library elevators at the same time, according to the library website.
Although library stacks are closed, members of the IU community can still request physical library materials by submitting a delivery request through the Indiana University Library Catalog (IUCAT) or visiting the Scholars' Commons Circulation desk.
All library materials will be quarantined for three days once handled by a patron, Dallis-Comentale said, which means the materials requested might not be readily available.
Most of the services available at the Learning Commons on the first floor of West Tower, such as Writing Tutorial Services and research assistance at the Research Desk, will be virtual-only in the fall semester, according to its website. Peer tutoring will not be available during the fall semester, and the CrimsonCard Office will close but will still be available at the Indiana Memorial Union. The UITS Support Center is available by appointment only.
“It’s about creating the safest and best environment we can give,” Learning Commons librarian Meredith Knoff said.
IU sophomore Kelvin Giang used to go to Wells Library’s West Tower frequently for group studies with his friends and group project members. He said because of the new measures for the fall semester at Wells Library, he might have to do group study in off-campus apartments at his friends’ places or meet people at local restaurants. Due to the three-hour reservation limit per day, he said he might stay in his own apartment to complete individual work.
Michelle Crowe, IU Libraries director of communications, said adjusting to the new semester can be challenging, but said IU Libraries is there to help students.
“We are offering virtual help through chat, text and email,” she said. “We also hope to communicate that we will all need patience as we get started.”