Aug. 7, 2020

Library gradually expands services as campus prepares for fall term

Contactless pickup now available, TFDL study spaces and computer workstations bookable online
workstations in TFDL
workstations in tfdl

Seventy-two hours – that’s the length of time that returned library materials must be quarantined, and it makes circulation a complex process. This has prevented UCalgary libraries from being able to fully restore the circulation of materials and access to physical archival collections.   

Libraries and Cultural Resources (LCR) was able to implement the HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access Service that provides online access to almost 40 per cent of the print monographs in the library’s collections. While for some users, the digital access isn’t the same as having the printed work, it’s a good way of ensuring that students who are taking courses online and faculty who have not returned to campus have continued access to many resources.

However, in preparation for the fall term, the library is now able to make contactless pickup available in the foyer of the Taylor Family Digital Library (TFDL) for the parts of the collection not available through the online HathiTrust provision. Once individuals request items, they will receive email notification when the materials are ready for pickup. Holds can be placed in the system beginning today and will be filled as soon as possible on a first-come, first-served basis. Student employees have developed a short video to lead users through the process.

  • Photo above: Twenty-nine computer workstations and 45 individual study spaces on the first floor of the Taylor Family Digital Library are now available for online bookings. Photos by Dave Brown, Libraries and Cultural Resources 
foyer setup for contactless pickup

The foyer of the Taylor Family Digital Library is now set up for contactless pickup of library materials.

“Circulation of physical materials is one of the fundamental ways the library serves the campus community, and we’re so pleased to be able to expand circulation for our students and faculty,” says Dr. Mary-Jo Romaniuk, PhD, vice-provost for LCR. “We’re also proud to have been the first research library in Canada to offer curbside pickup for Field of Study and PhD defence students over the past few months.”

Please return library materials to the book drop outside the east entrance of the TFDL, after which they will be quarantined before staff is able to work with them.

Bookable study spaces in TFDL

Space reconfiguration has taken place in the TFDL to conform with physical distancing requirements. Twenty-nine computer workstations and 45 individual study spaces on the first floor are now individually numbered and available for online bookings beginning today for the week of Aug. 10. They may be reserved in three-hour time slots on weekdays: 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. In the hour between, staff will sanitize the work areas. At this time, food is not permitted but drinks are allowed. 

Upon entry to the TFDL, individuals must present UCalgary ID and proceed to the stations they reserved. Moving furniture or switching workstations are not permitted. Physical distancing must be observed at all times.

Aside from the bookable workstations on the first floor, the rest of the building is currently off-limits except by appointment – for example, researchers who are visiting the Prairie Regional Research Data Centre. Physical spaces in branch libraries will not be available.

“Student work spaces are always in high demand of course, and we know this will continue to grow as we approach the fall term,” says Romaniuk. “We’re moving steadily but cautiously to make as many of these spaces in the TFDL available as we can in accordance with provincial guidelines, the HathiTrust agreement, and within the university’s overall re-entry strategy and protocols.”

Also newly available

Reading list tool – LCR has completed rapid implementation of a new reading list tool that streamlines the creation and management of digital course resources lists and enables students to access all their course materials in one place, with any device. The online guide is available here.

3D print on demand and contactless pickup service in the TFDL

Ongoing availability

Since classes moved online in March, librarians have assisted 5,500 people through online chat – three times the normal volume – and 1,150 by email. Consultations with librarians have also being taking place virtually. Visit the library homepage for daily hours of virtual service.


Book bags prepared by library staff for contactless pickup.

Staff moved quickly to move library workshops online. Virtual sessions have proven to be extremely popular and librarians have seen a significant increase in attendance. Dozens of upcoming sessions are available for registration

The university’s Copyright Office in LCR saw an increase in requests for assistance when classes moved online. Staff created a guide to online course delivery, and workshops for the campus community will take place later this month and into the fall term.

Coming this fall

  • Availability of physically distanced, bookable study spaces and computer workstations on the second floor of the TFDL and in other specific locations in the building to the extent possible.
  • Personal librarians – Incoming undergraduate students will get one-on-one guidance on navigating the library, assistance with locating resources specific to their studies and access to services such as writing and research assistance.
  • Glenbow Western Research Centre – Handling of physical archival materials and the necessary quarantine period add an additional layer of complexity for safely opening the access point for Archives and Special Collections. However, many research services remain available. Additional but limited site-based services should return later in the fall.
  • Nickle Galleries – Nickle Galleries is working to expand online programming, such as the popular Nickle at Noon lecture series, and to provide access to collections for instruction. Other physical access to the gallery, located on the main floor of the TFDL, will be part of the university’s overall campus re-entry plan.

Not currently available

  • Enclosed meeting spaces and collaborative workrooms
  • Technology lending   
  • Access to audio-visual editing suites, the virtual reality and one-button recording studio and the visualization studio in the TFDL
  • Print course reserves – reserve lockers will not be functioning.
  • Study space in any of the branch libraries

For regular updates about library services, please visit LCR’s information page.


UCalgary resources on COVID-19

For the most up-to-date information about the University of Calgary's response to the spread of COVID-19, visit the UCalgary COVID-19 Response website.