Starting on Aug. 30, students, faculty and staff will be required to make reservations to use all University of Alabama Libraries.
“We feel that this is the most equitable way to make sure that we do not have to close our doors due to occupancy numbers,” said Michael Pearce, director of strategic engagement of University Libraries. “There are other university libraries that have made a similar decision to go to a reservation system to make sure there’s equitable access to computers and other resources.
“For example, our occupancy now for Gorgas Library, with social distancing protocols in place, is 500 people, which is half what it used to be. We haven’t reached our limits or had to shut our doors to obey the occupancy limits so far this year, but the reservation system should eliminate the issue altogether.”
Students, faculty and staff can make a reservation from a phone, tablet or laptop.
If someone forgets to make reservations upon arriving at a library, they can go to the website and look at the library’s occupancy in real time. If it’s below the library’s limit – the website will show an occupancy percentage – a reservation can be made on the spot.
“If people are thinking ahead and planning on using our facilities, we won’t fill up as fast,” Pearce said.
There are exception to the reservation rules: people can still use the libraries to access the restroom, print a paper, pick up an interlibrary loan or get coffee at Java City.
“We’re all in this to make sure everybody is safe and healthy during this pandemic,” Pearce said. “We hope that people understand and have patience.”
For more details, and information about the steps University Libraries has taken to promote health and safety, visit its fall access plan.