Where is the nearest bathroom in this building? Where do I find the books that I selected online? Can you look up this book for my Ancients or Theology class coming up this week? Where can I find VR3 or Falvey 415? How do I access Old Falvey? We are visitors. Can we just take a look around? Do you have that book available on the shelves? Are the third and fourth floors open to the public? Can I get a study room upstairs?
These are all questions that employees at the service desk are more than willing to answer now that we have progressed away from the worst of the pandemic and are making our way back to normalcy. As a service desk worker at Falvey Library, it is awesome to see everyone in person collaborating on projects and asking questions that we can help with. In addition, students are seeing and conversing with old friends as they walk into Falvey Memorial Library for class or to finish homework.
For perspective, we must go back to March of 2020. The first floor was full of students working together on schoolwork and studying. On the second floor, the tutoring and assistance services like the Math Learning Resource Center and the Writing Center were in full instruction mode. On the third and fourth floors, students were hard at work as they studied for exams or wrote papers. On these floors, there would also be employees pulling books from the shelves. The mysterious and sometimes scary Falvey West stacks would house students who really needed to get work done at the last minute or host professors looking for that one source they needed for an academic endeavor.
The pandemic hit and the whole operation changed. The service desk was void of any human activity and if one had a question, an employee would help from the screen. Some of the desks from the third and fourth floors were taken down to the first floor so students could have a reprieve from doing work in their rooms. The desks were socially distant, and masks were required at all times. A floor that once had sound reverberating everywhere now could hear a pin drop. It felt like the fourth floor was moved down a few flights of stairs. The tutoring and learning service offices were opened only on a limited basis, and the third and fourth floors along with Falvey West were only accessible to employees.
As we now come into the Fall 2021 semester, we can sense that the Falvey Library is back. The first floor is a space of great learning and teamwork. The second floor offices are fully open and ready to help students. The doors to the third and fourth floors along with Falvey West are open again to students and faculty. Community members can now do their schoolwork there once again and look for books that they need for classes.
There are positives that came out of the pandemic, including the new pick up and go system for selected books. This system makes it much easier for students and faculty because the service desk does not have to be open for the patron to obtain the book. Previously, workers at the desk would have to get the patron’s wildcard and go to the back room to find the book. With the new pick up and go method, we charge the book out to the patron, wrap their book or books in a paper with their last name and they can pick up the book whenever they want.
One of the hot items at Falvey Library, the group study rooms, are not available at this time due to Falvey Library employees using them. They are using them because as Luisa Cywinski, Director of Access Services, said, “The employees are working in crowded spaces and this would require them to wear masks all day. We are using these spaces so they can have a break from wearing masks and conduct meetings there.”
Other additions to the Falvey Library include two new printers that are to the left of the TechZone and another singular printer has been moved to the back by the exit door.