Arts & Culture / COVID-19 / Mosaic / April 16, 2020

Knox library perseveres during COVID-19

Students walking towards Seymour Library. (Katy Coseglia/TKS)

During these precarious times, the Knox Library wants to support the community in any way possible, given that it is nearly impossible to check out physical books. Even with the closure of the physical library, Knox librarians, such as Assistant Librarian Rebecca Yowler, have come up with several resources to stay in contact with students. 

“The library has needed to act quickly. Initially, we needed to figure out how to maintain contact with students and faculty, how to provide access to as many of the library’s collections as possible, how to operate (or not operate) the building, and the policies we would implement to do all of this. The physical building has been closed since March 20, and most staff have been working all of their hours from home since then,” Yowler wrote during her email interview.

From wherever they may be, students and faculty can access all electronic materials; including databases, online resources, and many e-books, just as they were able to before Coronavirus. According to Yowler, many of the content providers have offered additional resources, free of charge, during this time. All services are highlighted on the Knox Library website.

Book costs in a typical environment could be cut down with the use of I-Share, but due to the closure, I-Share has suspended all loans during this time. Librarians have had to get creative in the way they are assisting students. 

“We’ve purchased e-book access to many of the required texts for classes this term that we would have put on the reserve shelf in a hard copy in the past. We’ve scoured the internet for films at low or no cost, and we’ve worked with professors to provide access to as many resources as possible. Each librarian also has their own “chat widget” available so students can talk directly to the librarian working with their course. Also, we have made videos to help students access various materials,” Yowler said. 

In this endeavor, it can be difficult to scour the internet for alternative resources in order to continue the term smoothly. The Knox librarians have been researching and adding opportunities in forms that they never were able to do previously.

“We have so many expanded offerings at this time. We really have quite a few interesting things available that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to get. Drama Online, for example, is a database we’re able to use this term that we’d otherwise not be able to afford,” Yowler said. 

What seems to be the biggest challenge to librarians such as Yowler has been the absence of students, especially the student workers. 

“The other big challenge is the more important one. We miss our students, and we miss our student staff. Our jobs just aren’t the same without seeing students in the building or answering questions at the reference desk. We miss seeing you and interacting with you. We miss you,” Yowler said.

Overall, Yowler wants the Knox community to know that they are here to help. With the addition of the “chat widget” to talk directly to a librarian, the additional resources, and an extended reference schedule, they hope that they can continue to connect with the students and faculty during these times. 

“Please reach out! We are here to help, and we want to make sure you have what you need to be successful. We are uniquely qualified to help students and faculty access electronic materials, and we’d like the chance to help,” Yowler said. 

For more information, an additional guide has been created at The reference schedule is Sunday: 10a-2p, 6-10p, Monday-Thursday: 9a-5p, 6-10p, Friday: 9a-5p, Saturday 10a-2p.

Sadie Cheney, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Sadie Cheney is a Gender and Women Studies major with a double minor in Journalism and Dance Studies. They started as a volunteer writer for discourse and then staff writer their sophomore year and was a mosaic editor in their junior year. They also have interned at The Times Indicator in Fremont, Michigan, The Register-Mail in Galesburg, IL, and OUT FRONT Magazine in Denver, Colorado.

Tags:  COVID-19 library resources online resources rebecca yowler Seymour Library

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