The University of Southampton has announced that the Hartley, Health Services and Winchester Libraries will resume term time service on the 28th September. However, this is not quite a return to normal. New measures to minimise the spread of covid-19 have been announced, while the Avenue Library and Learning Commons will remain shut until January 2021.
In the announcement, the University stated that while Hartley and the Health Services Libraries began offering limited services on the 10th and 3rd of September respectively, the Winchester Library would not be open at all until the 22nd. For the National Oceanographic Library, the reopening date is still to be confirmed.
The new measures include study spaces 2 metres apart, which must be pre-booked, while there will be “browse and borrow time-slots”, which also need to be pre-booked. Book returns should be to the Hartley letterbox, or the red box outside the Health Services Library, where they will be quarantined to ensure that they are safe to borrow. Hand sanitisers will be placed at entrances, while an intensified cleaning regime will be laid on. Seating spaces will be limited, while a one-way system will be in force, and perspex screens will be installed at service desks.
Speaking to the Wessex Scene, VP Education and Democracy Avila Chidume said
Unfortunately COVID-19 has had an impact across the whole of the University and the services offered. A lot of changes and sacrifices are needing to be made to ensure that students can return to campus and use the facilities available to them safely. For example, quarantining a book is something no one could have ever imagined would be needed, but it is a process required to protect students and staff alike. You can find more detail regarding the decisions on the recent SUSSED post but if [anyone has]any specific questions about these decisions I am very happy to take them to the University.
Whilst it is unfortunate that the NOCS and Avenue Libraries are to remain closed for their respective durations, it does not mean students will not have access to the resources which they need. It is important to note that the decisions made have not been made lightly, and SUSU are working closely with the Library Services to ensure students’ education is not adversely impacted by COVID.