Our Fall 2020 Re-Entry Plan: Updates on Access to Library Facilities and Physical Collections

Posted on: October 7, 2020

In this plan: View this plan as a PDF

A Message from the Dean

Dear Dukes,

As we prepare to welcome and support you through the fall semester, your friends at the JMU Libraries have been hard at work.

You will notice many changes to our spaces and services.

These have all been designed to protect the health and safety of our students, staff, faculty, and community members — while still offering the enthusiastic and expert assistance, vibrant programming, and caring approach you have come to expect from your Libraries.

This summary document draws on the efforts of our JMU Libraries Dean’s Council and Library Emergency Response Team (aLERT). These groups have developed scenario-based and safety-minded plans that incorporate scientific research and emerging best practices.

We are here for you in extraordinary times — but our success as a community depends on our willingness to protect each other. Thank you for your commitment to helping JMU “Stop the Spread.”


Dean Nowviskie's signature

Dr. Bethany Nowviskie
Dean of Libraries and Professor of English

Guiding Principles

Health and Safety: Our highest priority is to foster community health and protect the health and safety of all people who work in or visit the JMU Libraries. Services will be offered only to those who abide by safety protocols.

Continuity of Mission-Critical Activity: We will continue serving as JMU’s nexus for creative exploration, research, scholarship, and teaching and learning in a hybrid campus environment. We will modify, expand, or curtail in-person and online services appropriately.

Adaptability and Transparency: Our re-entry plan is evidence-based and designed to change in response to external developments or internal concerns. If changes to services occur, we will update the JMU Libraries website.


Through Early August:

  • Remote services and robust, virtual support for teaching, learning, research, and creative exploration continue.
  • A contactless pickup service facilitates access to print resources from the Libraries’ collections.
  • Libraries faculty and staff work to prepare the buildings for a limited, safety-minded re-opening.

August 10 to August 25:

  • Most public spaces in the Libraries will become available to JMU community members and visitors who abide by safety protocols.
  • Limited in-person services will be offered during summer intersession hours at the Ask the Library desks in Carrier, Rose, and Music Libraries. Other service points will remain closed to the public.
  • Library users are encouraged to request items through the library catalog for pickup.
  • Most services and support for teaching, learning, research, and creative exploration will continue to be provided remotely and/or by appointment only.

August 26 Until Further Notice:

Use of the Libraries’ Facilities

Safe access to the JMU Libraries’ facilities will be informed by research, our guiding principles, and evolving JMU guidelines.

Our plans, which are subject to change in response to external developments or safety concerns, include the following measures:

  • In accordance with JMU’s “Stop the Spread” requirements, Libraries users and staff must wear face masks covering the mouth and nose (or, if an accommodation is needed, another approved face covering) in all public and shared spaces.
  • Personal water bottles are permitted, but no other food and drink is allowed in the Libraries until further notice.
  • Because spaces and furnishings have been configured and traffic flow adjusted to promote six feet of distancing, users may not relocate furniture.
  • Libraries users and staff are asked to maintain adequate physical distance from others and follow all directional and other posted signage.
  • LiveSafe green check is required at service points.

Access to Books, Equipment, and Other Materials

Our approach to handling library materials is informed by scientific research and emergent trends and best practices from other libraries.

Measures enabling safe access to printed books, equipment, and other physical materials in our collection include the following:

  • We will prioritize electronic formats and digital content whenever possible. Course reserves will be fully digital.
  • To support reduced traffic and safe distancing in our facilities, users are encouraged to request books and other items through the library catalog. These will be available for pickup at the Ask the Library desk.
  • Library users are also encouraged to bring their own devices and use wireless printing from personal laptops when possible to reduce wait times and keep computers available for those who need them most.
  • All library books, equipment, and other physical library materials will be isolated for at least 72 hours after being returned to us. Book drops are available for contactless returns.

Consultations, Workshops, and Events

To promote community health and abide by Virginia and JMU guidelines:

  • All workshops or programs and most library instruction sessions will be offered online only.
  • Any in-person instruction must adhere to reduced classroom capacity guidelines.
  • Consultations and tech support will be offered online or over the phone to the greatest extent possible.
  • Libraries’ spaces may not be reserved for events or meetings until further notice.

Teaching, Learning, and Research Support

Libraries’ faculty and staff continue to offer dedicated and enthusiastic support for our community’s teaching and learning needs, research and scholarship, and creative exploration.

For up-to-date details on available resources, visit these pages on the JMU Libraries website:

Questions or Feedback

To ask questions about available resources and Libraries support services, get timely help, or make an appointment, please contact us at www.lib.jmu.edu/ask.

To offer feedback on this summary plan or ask questions about it, please contact JMU aLERT members at libraries@jmu.edu.

Originally posted on August 5, 2020. Edited on October 7, 2020 with revised language for food/drink and a link to a PDF of the newest version of this plan..

Categorised in: