U of T Libraries expands services as communities slowly reopen

Tuesday, July 21, 2020 - 10:49am

U of T Mississauga’s library is now offering curbside pickup of select materials for students, staff and faculty.

The Library will offer this service for print books from the UTM stack collection that are not available through the HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access Service (ETAS). Orders for books can be placed online, with pickup available on weekdays in the Link near the Library entrance.

Robarts Library and the U of T Scarborough Libraryare also offering curbside pickup while the Gerstein Science Information Centre has opened a study space for students who need access to a computer or Wi-Fi. 

“Providing a safe and welcoming space to learn and do research is a huge priority for us as library staff,” says Larry Alford, U of T’s chief librarian. “And making available the vast record of research that we house here and to be able to reopen safely – that is a great feeling.” 

First launched at Robarts Library on June 22, the curbside pickup service is already in high demand. 

“When we had to close our buildings, it was very clear that it was a huge loss in terms of access to print collections that weren’t online and frankly, a loss of access to technology for many students.”  

Since early May, the HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access Service has ensured U of T Libraries users have access to digitized versions of more than 2.5 million of the library’s in-copyright print books, as well as more than 6.7 million public domain and Creative Commons-licensed works. While this was a boon for U of T Libraries and its users, the Trust only has around one-quarter of the university’s entire collection already deposited and available online. The curbside pickup service will provide access to print books at participating campus libraries that are not available through the Trust. 

On June 18, the Gerstein Science Information Centre’s Wallace Room, which normally seats more than 150 people, opened with five desktop computers available for students to book for three hours at a time, in addition to five bring-your-own device spaces. Alford says the reception for that service has been positive and demand is expected to grow throughout the summer.  

“Everything will be done incrementally as we look at taking small steps to do everything safely,” says Alford. “Our priority will always be the health and safety of our community. 

“Library staff do this work because we care about our users, we care about supporting research and learning, and making important scholarly resources as accessible as possible.”

Watch How to Request Curbside Pickup at UTM Library: