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Library Resources in the time of COVID-19: University Libraries Facilities Use Guidelines for Fall 2020

This guide will be updated on a regular basis.

Facilities Use Guidelines Fall 2020 With Support Documentation

University Libraries Facilities Use Guidelines for Fall 2020 

University Libraries has compiled the following guidelines in order to create a safe environment for students, staff, and faculty on campus, as well as University Libraries employees, and others who enter our facilities.   

University Libraries Facilities Guidelines for Fall 2020 include best practices that are universally recognized as effective for preventing community spread of the novel coronavirus, and follow the safety protocols that are in place based on the State of Alabama COVID orders, the UA System Comprehensive Health & Safety Plan, the University of Alabama Return Plan, guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and guidance from the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Guidelines Governing the use of University Libraries Facilities for Fall 2020:

  1. Action Cards, or Mobile Action Cards on one’s phone, are required to enter our facilities. Members of the general public are not allowed to enter our facilities until further notice.
  2. Masks or face coverings are required to enter, and must be worn in our facilities.
  3. Plexiglass health screens have been installed at public service points in our facilities.
  4. Social distancing is required in our facilities. Users must maintain 6 feet of distance.
  5. Patrons who arrive in groups are expected to disperse when in our facilities.
  6. Signs, floor waypoints, and guides denoting 6 feet of distance have been placed near service and queuing points throughout our facilities. 
  7. We have configured all open computer workstations and seating areas in our facilities to provide for 6 feet of distance. 
  8. Patrons must not move chairs or reconfigure furniture layouts as this would interfere with social distancing guidelines.
  9. Hoole Special Collections Library has facility specific guidelines that are available here.
  10. Library instruction will be delivered on a case by case basis, using a hybrid model that prioritizes virtual delivery of instruction. Librarians will create asynchronous content for instruction purposes, and synchronous content will be delivered via group video conferencing rather than in-person class visits in our facilities. 
  11. We have removed all document production tools/items from our service points (staplers, paper clips, etc.) until further notice, to provide a clean surface that can be sanitized more easily. 
  12. We have reduced the occupancy of restrooms by 50% to promote social distancing. 
  13. We have closed all group study spaces until further notice.
  14. Whisper Booths will undergo a 72-hr embargo between users, and will be limited to one person per session.
  15. We will not host events in our facilities until further notice.
  16. Using signage in elevator lobbies in our facilities, and in the elevators themselves, encourage patrons to limit the number of people riding on elevators at one time.
  17. Regular hand washing/personal hygiene is encouraged with signage, and hand sanitizer is available throughout our facilities.
  18. Regular cleaning and disinfection of high touch surfaces will be performed in our facilities.
  19. Based on materials safety guidelines, we have altered circulation and recirculation procedures for books, and other equipment. University Libraries will limit in-person interactions associated with the receipt and recirculation of materials throughout our facilities. Non-book items that will fit in book drops can be returned to book-drops to avoid as much patron-to-staff contact as possible.  
  20. Paper based materials will be quarantined for 24 hours before processing and re-shelving can begin. Smooth plastic or plastic-like surfaces, media (e.g., CDs, DVDs, etc.) and microformats (e.g., fiche, film, etc.), and all AV equipment loans will be quarantined for 72-hours before processing can begin.
  21. Equipment such as kits, headphones, etc. will be cleaned with either a sanitizing agent or 70 % isopropyl alcohol wipe or solution, whichever is the most appropriate for the material, before being put back in circulation.
  22. Materials received in the mail will undergo quarantine for 24 hours before being processed for circulation.
  23. University Libraries employees will wear gloves when processing mail and other library materials for circulation or recirculation.
  24. University Libraries faculty and staff who share workspaces that do not allow for social distancing have been relocated to new work spaces. Where relocation is not possible, employees will work on staggered schedules to the greatest extent possible.

Support documentation

UA System Comprehensive Health & Safety Plan

University of Alabama Return Plan  

Governor Kay Ivey’s Safer at Home Order, amended 7/15/20


How to Protect Yourself & Others CDC Guidance

Social Distancing CDC Guidance

Interim Guidance for Administrators of US Institutions of Higher Education

CDC Activities and Initiatives Supporting the COVID-19 Response and the President’s Plan for Opening America Up Again May 2020

American College Health Association’s safe reopening practices. 

Study: Research shows virus undetectable on five highly circulated library materials after three days

Study: Testing was conducted by applying the virulent SARS-CoV-2 virus (the virus that causes COVID-19) on five materials held at standard room temperature.                                   

Study: Sustainability of Coronavirus on Different Surfaces

Study: Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1