LRC Adapts To Keep Serving Students During COVID-19

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Bridget Smith

Since students aren’t allowed to browse the stacks like during a usual year, the LRC has been a lot more empty than usual.

Laure Schulders, Graphic Designer

Safety measures put in place to deal with COVID-19 safety have made it difficult for the LRC to maintain many of its services. As a result, LRC staff have adjusted by altering protocols and introducing new programs.

Safety constraints severely limit LRC capability. The impacts were seen with study hall, in-person book browsing and other LRC functions being removed entirely.

“Kids just really aren’t allowed to come in here unless there is a specific reason that the administration has let us know about,” said Brigette Smith, LRC assistant.

Study hall desks sit empty during the school day. (Caroline Look)

Study halls in the LRC used to provide lots of resources and games for students to try.

“Kids would do puzzles. They would be playing chess,” said Benjamin Wagoner, LRC/Media specialist. Study halls in the library would also provide quiet spaces for students to do school work alongside each other.

“I always used to go with a friend of mine,” said Jessica Lachman, sophomore. “It was always quiet and easy to work in the library.”

Another major change has been found in the book checkout process. Students can check out books online using the Destiny Catalog website and logging in with their school account. Students can browse and place books on hold.

The Destiny Catalog website is where students can check out books from the library.

“That message goes to one of our staff,” explained Jeanne Slinker, LRC assistant.

Books are then checked out by staff, and an email is sent out to the student notifying them. Books can then be picked up in the LRC, or at book carts, like one in front of the office. The books themselves are quarantined for several days after being returned to ensure COVID-19 safety.

“The checkout process takes more time, more effort, than it obviously would instead of students coming in and browsing,” said Slinker.

One newly implemented method of book retrieval is through delivery. LRC staff can drop off the book during a student’s schedule. However, LRC staff anticipates that in class delivery is only temporary.

“Going in the middle of class can be very disruptive to the teacher,” said Smith.

Despite the difficulties, staff are still making their best efforts to encourage book checkouts. 

“We will do anything to get a book in your hands,” said Wagoner.

However, book checkout records have significantly decreased, by around 95%.

“We usually average around 1100 checkouts a month, and we’ve had less than 200 books put on hold for this year,” said Wagoner.

Steps have been taken to increase checkouts, but COVID-19 limits the effectiveness of many plans.

The entire LRC was reshelved by genres so students can more easily access the types of books they want, but students aren’t allowed to come into the LRC and physically check out books.

“There’s no way to really read whether the ‘genrification’ is working or not,” said Smith.

Banners display the location of each genre. (Caroline Look)

 

The LRC website has been a major focus for staff during COVID-19 to be able to share more information with D303 families.

“We’ve been upgrading that extensively,” said Slinker, continuing, “There is tutoring information for math, reading, writing and foreign language.”

A partnership between the LRC and the St. Charles Public Library also extends library membership availability. Any student with a D303 school ID is now eligible to use the public library, regardless of place of residence.

“Anybody that goes to one of the schools in D303 could set up an appointment and go check out books at the [St. Charles] Public Library, which is different from the past,” said Smith.

When normalcy returns, the staff will most look forward to seeing students.

“We miss being with the students. We miss the energy, we miss the laughter, we just miss you guys so much,” said Wagoner.