Photo by Susan Yin on Unsplash

By Alyssa Anderson

You need to rent a book for class, but because of COVID-19, what do you do? As of right now the campus is closed, but, Skagit Valley College has online and curbside pick-up put in place of the library. There are a couple of different ways to be connected to one of the three staff and faculty members. Some of the options are setting up a meeting via zoom appointment, using the live 24/7 reference chat, email, online tutorial link, and of course giving them a call.

Many need to borrow school materials such as laptops, Hot Spots, CCB Class books, MANF materials, Math graphing calculators, and WORKFORCE Grants class materials. Everything that was listed off, is here offered at Skagit. There is no rental charge for anything, you either lend it or loan it. In some cases, there might be a rental charge for something that the library is distributing for a different department.  If lost or damaged there will be a fine because these are state property, and that is what the state requires.

The college has purchased more than enough hotspots and laptops to fill all the requests made by students. There is more than one copy of some books, but most of them are first come first serve. Currently, they are extending the checkout period time for students. Students can have a limit of 50 items checked out at a time with limits of one computer, one hotspot, etc.

If none of the curbside pick up times work for you, don’t worry. They are able to  turn the materials over to college security when they are on campus and the librarian is not, and they will get the item to the student.  Students need to make arrangements for that with the circulation department, who will make arrangements with the security department on either campus: Mount Vernon or Whidbey.

To make a zoom meeting you have to have an appointment, and you will be introduced to different tabs. You will find the link that says ‘Need Research Assistance’, from there on out you will click that tab that says questions. Once you do this, it will show you the hours available. 8:30 am and 6:30 pm Monday-Thursday and 8:30 am and noon on Fridays. Librarians are not available over the weekend. Meetings will be scheduled for 1/2 hour. In case you do not remember the times that are offered, it will show up again when scheduling a zoom meeting.

If you have an important question, it would be best to give them a call, because you do not have to wait to set the Zoom appointment up. Same goes with the online 24/7 chat, it has answers of straight forward questions for students. For example, Skagit student Haleigh Peterson is in running start. “I got off work too late to ask a question, I used the chat 24/7 feature and it worked great!,” says Peterson

Recently I got in touch with Margret Mills, who is the Public Services Librarian. She has given me tons of information about how the library is running. We have a new Dean. Her name is Gretchen Robertson and she is in charge of three different areas of Instruction Library, eLearning, and Center for Participatory Excellence. “We are excited about the opportunities this brings for the libraries and our students,” said Mills.

Elena Bianco is the Technical Services Librarian. On her page, she posts Guides that will help you with any research you have. She posts only the best and accurate information. She has given me information about how many people view the library’s webpage per day, and how many people use the chat bar. “The library web site gets approximately 272 views per day. SVC had a total of 121 chats for the month of January,” says Elena Bianco. That is a lot of students per day using the library sources. This is super important to all students, especially since we aren’t in school right now, we need all the information possible.

During these times it is important to make sure everything is staying cleaned, so we can all stay healthy. “The library staff sanitizes every item when it is returned to the library.  One of the reasons we are not able to have short term checkouts of library materials is that we are following a protocol to make sure staff and patrons are safe.  Students should do whatever they do with other items they bring into their homes when they bring library materials home,” said Margret Mills.

In other words, she is saying that if you were to bring something home from Goodwill, or any store, you would want to clean it before using it. Make sure you clean any materials you borrow before and after you use them from the library.