Despite uncertainty, social distancing and a rapid transition to remote learning and working, the UNM University Libraries (UL) are continuing to provide services to UNM and the wider Albuquerque community. Students and faculty continue to receive assistance from the UNM libraries through various outlets that have been adjusted to address the needs of the community. From curbside check-out services, to computer rentals, to online research consultations, UL is pivoting to the needs of its users.

At the start of remote learning, the libraries IT and access service team recognized students would need laptops to access newly online classes during UNM’s limited operations period. The library contributed nearly sixty laptops to the campus-wide effort and quickly developed the capability to check out all of the computers in the program using the existing checkout systems. In both cases, the UL staff were able to adapt their technical expertise and systems to meet expanding learning needs.

“Since our COVID-19 limited operations state began in mid-March, Access Services reference providers have answered 700 chats. We’ve also had more than 1,659 views of the Library FAQs during March and April,” said Cindy Pierard, director of UL Undergraduate Engagement and Access Service. “In other years, undergraduate students represented the majority of our users of chat, but of the 700 chats we've fielded thus far, 36 percent are graduate students and 14 percent are faculty.”

The Ask a Librarian service provided by the UL Access Service team is receiving so many questions and requests for help, the service has been expanded. Chat hours were expanded, and now are offered Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

In addition, librarians in Learning and Outreach Services continue to help students and faculty from across campus through online consultations for teaching, research, and learning. This assistance is prepared to continue online support through the summer semester and beyond.

Along with one-on-one help sessions with faculty librarians and chat services, the UNM Libraries is providing online and digital access to over 800,000 of its print books that are currently unavailable due to limited operations. This is made possible with the HathiTrust’s Emergency and Temporary Access Service (ETSA). Students, faculty and staff have these books available with the use of their UNM NetID and password. Since the beginning of limited operations, staff have been working with hundreds of publishers and vendors to make various content such as, textbooks, streaming videos, eBooks and journals temporarily available free of charge. These services and resources are intended stay available to the community as long as the libraries are closed.

UL is also addressing the needs of the greater Albuquerque community by creating a curbside pick-up system. The service is available to all Lobos, as well as community card holders. Books requests placed online can be picked up on the North side of Zimmerman during certain hours on Fridays, starting May 29.

Librarians, scholars and community members are also continuing to offer webinars and online events, which are all posted to the Calendar of Events. Be sure to check back regularly to find ways to virtually join the conversation. As the world adjusts to the impact of COVID-19, the ULLS is committed to remaining true to its mission by providing expertise, instruction, services and collections that advance scholarship, teaching and intellectual discovery.

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