From the moment the pandemic forced libraries to close their locations across the province, UAlberta Library started doing its best to help patrons get the library items they needed, and to support research and learning efforts at the University. Usage of online access to materials went through the roof, but still there was a constant demand for access to our physical collections. The library launched its curbside pickup at Rutherford library in June 2020, and just before the fall semester, opened a second location at Augustana library in August 2020.
Located around 100 km south-east from Edmonton, Augustana campus library is a home to a large liberal arts collection. Throughout the fall semester, our Information Services Specialists (ISS) Cody Torkelson and Bojan Kumovic were on site keeping things moving.
“During the term, we checked out 562 items to Augustana users via our curbside pickup service” says Cody. “We sent 914 Augustana items to fill holds at other libraries, and we also shelved more than 2000 books that returned to our library” he adds.
This required some serious organization in order to be safe and follow strict, evidence-based health measures. For example, all items returned to the library during the fall 2020 semester needed to be handled appropriately and quarantined for at least 72 hours.
Liberal arts books are best consumed on quiet winter evenings by the fire. Even better, if you happen to find an old turntable. Dust it off and borrow some of the old LP records from Augustana library. Their surface noise sounds just perfect for the occasion. Once you get enough of reasoning Slavoj Zizek’s “Absolute Recoil: Towards a New Foundation of Dialectical Materialism”, try changing the course to “The Fuzzy and the Techie: Why the Liberal Arts Will Rule the Digital World”. This knowledge might get handy some day!
UAlberta Library shares its print collections with many other libraries. Items come and go to and from other higher education libraries as well as some government and health services libraries in the province through membership in NEOS, a cross-institution sharing consortium.
Over in the other U of A satellite campus, in the heart of Edmonton’s Francophone community, Bibliothèque Saint-Jean (BSJ) houses a vast French-language collection. BSJ is situated 4 km from North Campus and in order to keep this collection accessible, a dedicated team of Information Services Specialists is working behind the scenes: Alèthe Kaboré, Linda Gisenya, Malaïka Ogandaga, Martine Iradukunda, Elisabet Ingibergsson and Mireille Smith.
“Our tasks involve the processing of items delivered daily via our transit trucks. These items are then discharged and reshelved. We also look for documents that have been requested by our patrons. Once found, these are put ‘in transit’ and sent to one of our curbside pickup locations”says Elisabet.
BSJ curriculum collections feature french language books, magazines, and teaching materials that are in high demand from our Faculty of Education students and instructors. Martine noticed that after library reopened in January, there were more than fifty requests for various issues of children’s french language magazines: Pomme d’Api and Astrapi.
Library staff is happy to be able to share print collections with students, faculty, and other libraries during the pandemic. All of them, along with some organization, protective gear, and sophisticated technology, are able to get this job done safely.
If you haven’t tried our curbside service yet, watch our videos for the Rutherford Curbside Pickup, or the Augustana one first! Then, go ahead, press that green button to ‘place hold’, and start the process!