Books Circulate Despite Corona – Praise for the Collection Service of Reserved Material
The borrowing of materials for study, teaching and research from the Turku University Library was enabled by an exceptional arrangement from the 1st April onwards. The new collection service of reserved material for university students and staff has received delighted and active response – library thanks for the heart-warming feedback!
According to Library Director Ulla Nygrén, arrangements were quickly made to enable the collection service for reserved material following the instructions of the Regional State Administrative Agency. These guidelines were issued separately for university libraries with the support of the Universities Finland (Unifi). It is clarified that in order to ensure distance learning and research, limited borrowing of printed material from university libraries is allowed during closure. The service is arranged in a way that is safe to customers and personnel.
Nygrén points out that in the exceptional circumstances the library has followed authorities’ instructions and has informed the university management about the collection service’s planning process.
Print material needed alongside e-resources and open learning material
“The popularity of the collection service for reservations at Rauma and Turku has shown that print materials are still essential for both research and study”, sums up the Head of Library Services Heli Kokkinen the experiences reached so far of the new service.
”Print materials are important alongside extensive e-resources or open learning material. In order to finish their research or thesis many people must also have access to printed sources”, Kokkinen reminds.
During the first two weeks, the collection service of reservations has been widely used, nearly 2300 books has been collected. According to Heli Kokkinen the peak that followed the opening of the service has subsided, but around 50 books are still collected daily.
”During this exceptional time, customers have been understanding and active. We have received positive feedback and many have expressed their concern of the safety of the library staff”, Kokkinen tells. In order to alleviate concerns related to the collection service, it was decided to describe in more detail what is happening in the closed libraries.
What goes on in the closed libraries and at the collection point for reservations?
”Following the university’s instructions, most of the library personnel works remotely, but a part of the customer service staff has a special permit to collect and return books daily in the closed libraries”, explains the Customer Service Team Leader Päivi Letonsaari. To best guarantee the safety of staff members, only one person at a time is allowed to work in the campus libraries. Also in the book deliveries as well as at the Educarium book collection point all human interactions are kept to the minimum.
Books waiting for pick-up at the Educarium collection point on the 15.4.2020.
”In the collection points design all measures have been taken to minimize contacts between library staff and customers. Only one person at a time may enter the collection point and customers are asked to keep their distance from others also when queuing outside”, Letonsaari says. The library has also instructed that risk group members or people who have fallen ill can authorize someone to pick up the reserved material. To find exact instructions with pictures for collection point visit the library website.
The university carpenters have built a special purpose box with hatches at both ends in the Educarium Library’s entrance hall through which the checked out material is given to a customer. Mehiläinen occupational Health Care Services, the university’s Occupational Safety and Health Manager Satu Alanko as well as the Security Manager Tero Haapala have been involved in the planning of the safety of collection points.
The handling of returns is also affected. “Books can be returned only to the Educarium Library’s return boxes, because they have been modified to allow safe handling of returns”, Letonsaari clarifies. The materials left in the boxes are kept in closed bags for 72 hours, after which they can be handled and returned safely to shelves. “So no need to worry, wait three working days for the loans to disappear from your account. There will be no overdue fees while the libraries are closed”, Letonsaari reminds.
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During this exceptional time, library makes every effort to serve its customers and develops services following the authorities’ instructions. Heli Kokkinen reminds that the collection points for reserved material are in use for the meantime.
”Contact us, and we’ll try to solve things together”, Heli Kokkinen and Päivi Letonsaari say.
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