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Penfield Library Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Please be aware that the information on this guide is subject to change due to the rapidly changing circumstances surrounding COVID-19. Library staff will do its best to make sure the information on this guide is up-to-date.

Questions or concerns? Contact us!

This guide was Last Updated: Jan 12, 2021 2:07 PM

Changes that affect everyone

Please be sure to look at our expectations for users page. In a nutshell:

  • Campus guidelines about masks & social distancing apply to the library.
  • Food isn't currently permitted in the library (though it was in pre-COVID times). Covered drinks are still okay.
  • Please don't move things or touch books/CDs/DVDs on the shelves.


Library building hours

These hours are for the winter session:

Dates Hours
December 14 - 18 8am - 4:30pm
December 19 - January 10

Building closed

  • 24 Hour Room closed
  • Research Help Desk available (see hours below)
  • Item pick-up by appointment only (email
January 11 - January 31

Monday - Friday: 8am - 4:30pm

Saturday - Sunday: Closed

  • Closed January 18 for Martin Luther King Jr. Day   

Research Help Desk Hours

You can get research help 24/7 - just go to our Ask A Librarian page.

Oswego librarians will answer during the below hours, and our partner librarians from other institutions will answer outside those times. 

Dates Hours
December 14 - December 20

Monday - Friday: Email only

Saturday - Sunday: Unavailable

December 21 - December 24 Monday - Thursday: 11am - 4pm
December 25 - January 3 Unavailable
January 4 - January 31

Monday - Friday: 11am - 4pm

Saturday - Sunday: Unavailable  

Archives & Special Collections Hours

Archives & Special Collections will be open by appointment only.

Visit the Archives & Special Collections website to schedule your visit.

Computers & Printing 

Computers & Computer Labs

Some of the computers in the library (primarily on the first floor) have been disabled in order to accommodate social distancing guidelines.

The 24 Hour space has been expanded to include the Penfield computer lab (the lab that's on the Lanigan-side of the building). Both black and white, and color printing are available in these spaces. 

Laptops & other equipment (cameras, chargers, etc.)

Unfortunately, we are not circulating any physical items with short checkout periods in order to reduce possible transmission of COVID-19.  


Shelves on the 2nd & 3rd Floors

In order to reduce the transmission of COVID-19, we ask that you request items through our library catalog. This includes books, CDs, DVDs, etc. Library personnel will retrieve these items for you, usually within 1 to 3 business days. We'll email you when your items are ready for pick-up. 

Group spaces

Group spaces cannot currently be reserved, but they're available on a first come, first served basis. 

Each room has a sign indicating the maximum number of people allowed in the room (usually 1 or 2 people).

Masks must be worn in all group study rooms, even if you're alone in the space. Food is not allowed. 


Please don't move the furniture - we've rearranged, removed, or taped off the furniture to accommodate social distancing guidelines. 


Interlibrary Loan

Because all incoming materials need to be quarantined for a week before being processed, interlibrary loan requests for books and other physical materials will likely take longer than usual. 

We can borrow many materials from other libraries at no cost to the library, or to you. However, some materials would incur a cost; we may need to cancel those requests due to budget constraints. 

Maker Services

The Maker Space is currently closed, and 3D printing is not available. 

Course Reserves

Unfortunately, we are not circulating any physical items with short checkout periods in order to reduce possible transmission of COVID-19.

Changes that affect faculty & staff

Course Reserves

  • We will not be circulating physical items (like textbooks) this semester. Current research suggests that COVID-19 can live on books from 3-4 days, which makes the normal circulation time (3 hours) for reserves impractical.

  • If you require a physical textbook for your class, you may be interested in participating in our fall pilot program as an alternative.

    As a participant in the pilot, you can request that we digitize some material for your class, which will then be available to borrow online. However, access to the digital material will be extremely limited, and is not meant to replace the same level of access that our physical Course Reserves previously provided. Our hope is that it may be useful for a small number of students who are otherwise unable to obtain a physical text. We are still developing the procedures for this, and will update the library website with information as soon as possible.

  • We can provide access to ebooks and full-text articles (that are available through our databases) through Course Reserves. You can use this request form to have electronic materials added to Course Reserves.

  • Want to upload your own readings to Blackboard? The Blackboard support team has instructions on how to upload either a single file or multiple files.

  • Want to know the best way to include library resources in Blackboard? Check out our handy guide that explains how to embed different types of library resources in Blackboard.


  • As always, our librarians will do our best to meet your information needs. However, it might look a bit different this semester:

    • Due to the hiring freeze, we are short-staffed. In order to best manage our workload, we may recommend instructional materials such as library guides or videos, or suggest students sign up for workshops that would allow us to teach several sections at once. We're open to your suggestions as well!
    • Like other faculty members, librarians may choose not to offer face-to-face instruction this semester in order to minimize their risk of contracting COVID-19.
  • If you are considering classroom instruction with the Archives & Special Collections staff, or plan to use items from those collections, please contact to discuss logistics.

  • We will not be conducting instruction in the library classrooms; all instruction will take place either in your classroom, or remotely.

Collections (Books & Databases)

  • Instead of emailing your liaison librarian with purchase requests, please contact associate library director Lynne Rhys ( or complete our purchase request form.

  • Budget cuts necessitated the need for database cancellations. After examining usage and surveying faculty, we have cancelled the following databases:

    • Academic Video Online (3/31/2021)
    • AccessScience
    • Art Abstracts
    • Biography Reference Bank
    • Biological Abstracts
    • Columbia International Affairs Online (CIAO)
    • JoVE
    • Linguistics & Language Behavior Abstracts
    • Naxos Music Streaming
    • New England Journal of Medicine
    • Newsbank newspapers for NY state *
    • Oxford English Dictionary **
    • Oxford Art Online **
    • Oxford Music Online **
    • Readers Guide Retrospective
    • Sage Premier Journals
    • Westlaw Campus *** (2/28/2021)

    * Databases with an asterisk are available through the New York State Library at no cost to residents of NY. [Apply for a NY State Library card]

    ** Databases with two asterisks are available through New York Public Library at no cost to residents of NY. [Apply for a NYPL card]

    *** Westlaw will be replaced by HeinOnline Academic and by publicly available databases. Watch for HeinOnline training coming up!

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