James Joyce Library reopens with restrictions

Image Credit: Dominic Daly

The James Joyce Library has announced it is reopening for the new trimester alongside announcing its plans to ensure safety for staff and students.

The initial phase will reopen the library to all students from 8:30-20:00, Monday to Friday, from the 21st of September 2020. The email sent to all students on the 18th of september stated that “libraries and study areas will be available to students”.

The James Joyce Library plays a central role at UCD, acting as both an academic and social hub. After closing in March, library staff have worked closely with Estate Services to develop a reopening plan. The Covid-19 pandemic has presented difficulties to reopening UCD’s busiest library. Public health measures, including physical distancing, face coverings ,and improved hand hygiene, have required that the library adapt its facilities and restrict library services. 

The library’s facilities have changed noticeably. On the first floor, a number of social study areas have been rearranged or closed off. There is hazard warning tape and floor markings throughout the building, outlining the direction of foot traffic and where to stand when queuing for library services. Bathroom stalls and wash-hand basins are to be closed at regular intervals to achieve physical distancing. Perspex screens separate librarians and students at the information desks, while seats, printers, and other shared appliances are dispersed 2 metres apart. 

The full catalogue of academic books will be available. Most books on short loan have been extended from 48 hours to 7 days, while those in very high demand have been assigned to library-use only. Additional stock has been added to both collections. Meanwhile, general loans will be automatically renewed to improve students’ experience and reduce fines.

Students can study at the library, but with restrictions. They must use the online system to book a study seat in advance. They can book two 2-hour slots per day, but the same seat cannot be booked back-to-back. Study seats cannot be booked more than five days in advance. Face coverings are mandatory for students moving through the library building. Physical distancing of at least 1 metre must be maintained between students, and 2 metres wherever possible. Students must also use the materials provided to clean all surfaces and shared equipment after use.

The reopening plan also improves remote access to library services. UCD Library has purchased 180,000 new ebooks, added an online library chat service, and created video tutorials and online research guides. This allows students to access core learning materials without having to travel to campus. UCDSU Welfare Officer, Ruiarí Power, is grateful to the library services team for maximising access to study spaces and learning resources for students. A statement was published on the UCDSU website saying that “The Students’ Union thanked the Library Services Team for all efforts to provide students with access to these essential resources”. 

The James Joyce Library’s facilities, services and opening hours are all subject to charge in response to public health advice. To stay informed, UCD Library provides regular updates on all five campus library locations through the library website and at UCDLibrary on Twitter.