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SUNY Libraries COVID-19 Planning and Information

Physical Spaces

REALM data:

Download the Systematic Literature Review (PDF). These spreadsheets may be also useful to reviewers:

A preliminary literature review was released on June 3, 2020, and is available for download. The project team will continue to collect and review published literature related to COVID-19 and share out those findings with the LAM community.

Information reviewed included (Links above):

from CDC, NYA, EDUCAUSE, American Colleges Health Association, etc.

  • Number of People in elevator​
  • How to sanitize surfaces​
  • Physical Material Handling - Quarantine​
  • Rules and Signage ideas for Physical Distancing  --How will enforcement happen..?
  • PPE procurement and sanitizing products​
  • Information on how COVID-19 spreads based on air handling​
  • Lists of colleges planning to open​
  • Data on materials checked out across SUNY​
  • Literature review of previous library pandemic responses…
  • How to keep people safe?
    • Staff 
    • Students
    • Public
  • How to safely handle the logistics of returns?
  • Barriers to accessibility and safe practice built into our buildings?
    • Shared offices
    • Entrances near work areas 
    • Installation of safety aids (i.e. sneeze guards) even possible?

Thank you to the collaborators:>

Andy Heiz, Chris Rudecoff, Cristina Pope, Karen Gelles, Jennifer Smathers, Lily Wadsworth, Sara Davenport, Tim Arnold, Tim Jackson, Yvonne Rode

Purchase and Distribute PPE

Purchase UV Disinfecting Equipment​

Establish who is responsible for enforcement of mask wearing and physical distancing. (Non-compliance has been an issue as library buildings reopen.)

Licensing across SUNY for virtual anatomy / physiology access.  (Sanitizing anatomy models may destroy #s)​

Physical Distancing Service Point needs; all masked, sneeze shield, 6’ line markings on floor or physical area blocked, staff sanitizes surfaces and objects at end of transaction ​

Add swipe machines for user handling or have staff search for users to avoid shouting IDs from 6 feet away

Consider self checkout machines​
Physical Distancing Studying / Open areas need 6-12’ spacing, masks must be on everyone properly

Remove fans​ in open areas, work with facilities to understand air handling

Make all restrooms 1 person at a time​

Closed stacks may be helpful

Staffing on a rotation schedule -perhaps over days or weeks, not just time of day

Cease all self-serve beverage and food services​

No touch water fountains / bubblers need a sign regarding use​
Touch water fountains (bubblers) need to be sanitized or closed

Remove staplers, scissors, paper cutters, paperclips

Convert paper forms that library would use to online format

Stakeholder Communication Ideas

Stress importance of protecting health and safety of team and students. (Universal opening)

Uncharted territory (doing our best, be tolerant and inform if you have difficulties)


Library Staff:

  • Reassurance -but not overpromises
  • Encourage input from everyone
  • Flexibility if possible (and within the legal allowable)
  • Create a Teams (or other group chat area) to share opening ideas
  • Keep discussions focused
  • We are not able to fully disinfect… wash hands often. Good hygiene ESP with reserve books<
  • Share SLS messages and FAQs from Basecamp with appropriate staff?
  • Consistent messaging about safety -emotional concerns…
  • (get discriminatory staff practices statement)


Campus Leadership:

  • Are there New Committees that didn’t exist before for COVID-19 measures review?
  • Purchase need -justify expense, student needs are more influential
  • Anatomy Models changed to Online format...
  • Remind CL & Facilities about the idiosyncrasies of the buildings that we know about, input on where sneeze guards are put or how a particular space is used.  Explain nuances without complaining
  • We are meeting the needs best as we can while maximizing the safety
  • Ask for clarification on Guessed Practices where it impacts services. Ex. Quarantine of Physical Items with High User Reserves Materials.  (Provost or Dean of Student Affairs, also Diversity Office have specific interested re: students)


Facilities/Envir. Health (Team up with this department):

  • occupancies, study table.  What is your campus doing, what support is there to help make it happen
  • Printing, esp pptx printouts are a problem 
  • High touch point areas -waterfountains, scanners, printers, copiers require so much disinfection, out of service?


Teaching Faculty:

  • Manage expectations
  • Encourage online submissions



  • Keeping websites up to date 
  • When you come back to the library this is how things will be  now
  • Set up expectations for service and spaces ahead of time, example esp. important for commuter students
  • We are not able to fully disinfect… wash hands often. Good hygiene ESP with reserve books
  • Wear a mask when using our resources to help remind you not to touch your face
  • Simple messages?
  • Send notes to those with checked out items to hold onto them, we know, no fines, here’s how to return them at the time.
    • No paper, send email or tweet or passenger pigeon
    • Message a single week ahead of time when possible


  • Focusing on Change Management professional development programming.​
  • Review how increased collaborative collecting of e-books could fill a need in collections over the next year as more programs are online.​
  • How can procurement and licensing be coordinated?​
  • Will focus on what cohort model professional development activities might be helpful over the next year.​

Thank you to the collaborators: 

Professional Development

  • How to best support librarians who are in the APT/Continuing Appointment process right now?​
  • Which Professional Development Opportunities (PDOs) are worth our time Right Now?​
  • How to foster cross-campus networking?​
  • Ongoing need for library profession to develop leadership / support management​

Thank you to the collaborators: Cara Howe, Dana Laird, Jennifer Smathers, Jennifer Whittaker

  • Union Recommendations on Pausing the Tenure Clock
  • APT Documentation –campus level
  • Locations of Professional Development Opportunities (PDOs)
  • Literature Review –How to evaluate PDOs
  • Audit of Communication Channels
  • Other Consortia fostering cross-campus communication

Resource Sharing

  • Need to focus on reopening resource sharing and access services during transition period from closed to opening.
  • RS is being managed in multiple systems: is there an opportunity to leverage systems better, and reduce the amount of technology infrastructure?
  • Staff sizes will be static or shrinking, even as services are expanded.  Is there a need for centralization/regionalization and sharing of staff?
  • Need to begin working on lending of resource types beyond articles and chapters such as e-books and streaming video.
  • RS is a community: how do we facilitate training and prof. Dev. Of staff?  How do we monitor and help when campuses/departments are struggling and help them?

Thank you to the Collaborators:

Shared Collection Development

  • Procurement process for licensing e-resources; difficult and time consuming to purchase anything. Difficult to pay bills for currently subscribed resources. Process could be in place for 1 - 1.5 yrs
  • Potential library budget cuts. Not having the budget to support new needs brought about by online instruction
  • How do we support new needs and explore new collections opportunities in this environment?
  • Lack of collaborative collection development. 
  • Confusion about SUNY print collection policies - last copy policy? Rule of 3 policy?
  • No mechanism in place for easily sharing print collection in current environment
  • Access to campus print collection, safety of circulation staff 
  • Archives and special collections - how much moves online? What does that mean for physical archives.

Thank you to the collaborators:

Virtual Library Services

  • We offer chat (or) virtual ref desk (or) online research consults, but they're underutilized
  • We don't offer live chat; rely on email or CMS
  • Use of chat has grown; how do we keep up?
  • No common chat service/vendor/platform across SUNY
  • Scheduled instruction sessions still expected by faculty
    – both synchronous and asynchronous; rush to create material
  • Some course assignments/student expectations not revised by faculty 

Thank you to the collaborators:

Carol Franck, Ken Fujiuchi, Michelle Mitchell, Susan Perry, Christine Rosa, Carli Spina, Brian Sullivan, Fantasia Thorne-Ortiz

  • Relevant information on SUNYLA related to promoting virtual services
    • Can reach out to Co-chair of SUNYLA for recommendations that might be relevant to our group
  • Some summer sessions haven’t begun yet. Unsure of summer needs.
  • Students emailing library about returning items
  • Faculty and researchers contacting library via email and chat
  • Creating LibGuides in preparation for summer sessions (multiple campuses) 
  • Psychology LibGuide - includes video tutorials (What is peer review? Limiting results to peer reviewed materials in databases)
  • Integrate LibGuides into Blackboard or other LMS
  • Still waiting  to find out when staff/faculty/students will be back on campus
  • Online documentation available externally - long term goals
  • Share SLC guides widely so campuses can use them to copy and use to make LibGuides
  • Point people to Springshare trainings (ticketing system, curbside pickup, etc.)
  • Using Springshare to make appointments for pickup points - “hold” table in library, curbside pickup, etc. -
  • Curbside pickup to help minimize gathering in the library
  • Centralizing requests as Springshare tickets as opposed to emails - “coordinated organization” 
  • SMS texting for materials pickup
  • Chat concerns for certain campuses
  • Help with free/cheap chat options - some campuses can not afford to purchase a chat platform -  major budget concerns
  • Find out how many campuses have already paid for LibChat - could help negotiating for a lower cost (Most already have SpringShare products, not likely to get a discount)
  • Can SLC LibGuides have administrators from each campus? Give people at campuses access via SLC Springshare 
  • Pickup chats from other campuses?
  • How would this impact special campuses? Specialized databases? Campuses could create FAQs for specialized databases
  • How could this be coordinated and implemented? 
  • SLC shared services funding
  • Funds being used to extend Alma/Primo for another year to ease financial stress on campuses
  • Is there any funding available to help with Springshare subscriptions?
  • Campuses put on similar cycles for renewal dates? 

Extend SUNY-Springshare deal (LibChat/LibAnswers) beyond June 30
Shared staffing of available reference librarians
Need for multi-modal communication suite (e.g. LibAnswers, LibraryH3lp) to provide flexible and agile virtual library services
Expand use of Springshare applications; point campuses to their trainings
Replace problem-reporting emails with ticketing system 
Share LibGuides content/templates; create central repository
Allow campuses to tag SLS guides and FAQs
Coordinate efforts with SUNYLA Information Literacy Committee
Coordinate efforts with other student services on campus
Foster a culture of flexibility, agility -- via professional development?

Availability of chat/reference services
Leveraging vendor offerings
Uneven staffing
Duplication of efforts for instruction, training, promoting
Managing faculty expectations
Users’ familiarity, comfort levels, technical capabilities
Last-minute administrative decisions 

Course Reserves / OER

  • Course reserves are a dynamic and multi-faceted collection. 
  • Narrowing the  scope of our investigation to textbook reserves present these problems:
    • Textbook reserves are a proxy to the larger issue of textbook affordability for students
    • Publishers are quickly shifting to digitally-walled course content and faculty are requiring those resources
    • Many campuses still rely on bookstores as a revenue stream, leading to an increasing number of inclusive access programs which theoretically secure annual revenues

Thank you to the collaborators:

Library Instruction / Course Support

  • There is both a lack of available current best practices and a redundancy of available tools (paid for and free) for creating flexible (videos, modules, customized tutorials, etc.) library instruction content 
  • A long-standing hurdle of effectively communicating to faculty and students the availability of library instruction / supports has been magnified by COVID-19
  • Varying degrees of library/librarian access to and presence in campus LMS

Thank you to the Collaborators:


Scholarly Communications

  • How to provide best practices for workflows and metadata in support of managing collections?
  • What would it take to migrate from a local repository to SOAR?
  • Is it possible to promote the benefits of open access within the context of a SUNY-wide initiative to help address challenges of obtaining content?
  • What approach to take to address faculty questions related to licensing, ownership, copyright, and negotiating with publishers? 

Thank you to the Collaborators:

  • Benefits of open access & IR depositors – Elaine Wells and Wendi 
  • Copyright and author rights ​– Gregg and Sarah 
    • Includes link to 
  • Migration from a local repository to SOAR – Elaine L. and Chris  
    • Bepress to DSpace Migration: A Case Study 
  • Best practices for workflows and metadata​ – Wendi and Maureen 
  • General comments from the 5/21/ meeting: 
    • Copyright and author rights 
      • Looking at FAQ, handouts, maybe a video series 
      • Pull together the most knowledgeable people from across SUNY 
      • Make sure to address point of need questions 
      • Are copyright policies different across campuses – within context of ownership rights as a faculty member, student, university (work for hire) 
      • Sarah’s ESC guides addresses a number of questions – definitely review 
    • Benefits of open access & IR depositors 
      • Faculty is more interested in who is citing their work rather than downloads/views 
      • Important to add that publicly supported funding agencies NSF, NIH, etc. require Open Access  
    • Migration from a local repository to SOAR 
      • Important to note that there is no such thing as a typical migration 
      • Length of time for a migration depends on many factors – staff resources, amount of content to migration, metadata considerations (such as differences in requirements between source and target systems as well as considerations of how consistent metadata is used by other institutions in the target system) 
      • The link to the Bepress to DSpace case study (experience of the Texas Digital Library) provides a good overview of the steps involved, of challenges, and of potential issues to be aware of 
    • Best practices for workflows and metadata​ 
      • Investigate SUNY becoming an ORCID member – benefits include the ability for APIs to pull content from CrossRef/PubMed rather than importing individual records 
      • RedCap is used primarily by medical and public health institutions; ORCID membership to take advantage of API capabilities may likely be better than developing a process locally 
      • Plan to require ORCID iDs? Many funders now require them. Minimally, present as a best practice.  
      • Comments on how standard the communities/collection structure should be – benefits include 
        • Support for API workflows 
        • As researcher support tools are implemented over time, a more standard support helps with the integration