Operations Plan for Academic Year 2020-21

Posted on: January 15, 2021

View this plan as a PDF

In this plan:

A Message from the Dean

Dear Dukes,

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

We have made 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, 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. Please observe social distancing guidelines and wear your masks at all times in the Libraries.

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 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.


View the full timeline for our COVID-19 response in our Fall 2020 Plan.

Fall Semester 2020 and Spring Semester 2021:

  • Most public spaces in the Libraries available to JMU community members and visitors who abide by safety protocols. Up-to-date information about study room availability is provided on our website.
  • In-person services offered during adjusted building hours at the Ask the Library desks in Carrier, Rose, and Music Libraries.
  • Other service areas available by appointment or remote assistance only. Up-to-date hours and access information for Special CollectionsMedia Production Services, and The Makery are provided on our website.
  • JMU Libraries Classroom Technology Services are on site to support in-person teaching.
  • Libraries faculty and staff continue providing robust remote support and online offerings.

Guidelines for Using Libraries’ Spaces

Safe access to the JMU Libraries’ facilities is 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:

  • Masks are required at all times. In accordance with JMU “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.
  • No food or drink is permitted in the Libraries until further notice.
  • Do not move furniture. Spaces and furnishings have been configured and traffic flow adjusted to promote six feet of distancing.
  • Maintain distance. 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 prioritize electronic formats and digital content whenever possible. Course reserves are 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 an 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 are offered online only.
  • Consultations and tech support are 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.

  • Due to limited instructor availability, we will consider requests for custom instruction sessions for students on a case-by-case basis. Submitting requests with significant advance notice will be helpful. Some types of instruction require up to 21 days of notice in advance of the desired instruction date. Please contact us via this form as soon as possible during the course planning process.
  • Most instruction sessions are offered online only. Additionally, some instruction is offered in an asynchronous online format due to limited instructor availability.
  • Any in-person instruction must adhere to reduced classroom capacity guidelines and other safety protocols.

For up-to-date details on available resources, visit these pages:

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 plan or ask questions about it, please contact JMU aLERT members at libraries@jmu.edu.

Originally posted on January 15, 2021. Edited on January 19, 2021 to add a PDF version of this plan. Edited on January 26 with study room information. Edited on Feb 20. Edited on Feb 23 with new video, updated guidelines, updated PDF, and edited timeline. 

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