Phased Plan for Resumption of Services at PUL

As of March 20, 2020, Princeton University Library (PUL) moved to an online-only service and ceased all in-person operations on campus. Access to digitized collections, licensed databases, ejournals, e-books, research tools -- and to librarians through remote consultations -- has been maintained throughout the spring semester, and additional virtual assistance has been provided for ongoing research, teaching, and learning.

PUL has a phased plan for the resumption of on-site services consistent with the Executive Orders issued by the Governor of New Jersey. The plan was developed in close collaboration with the Office of Environmental Health and Safety and other campus partners to assure alignment with the University’s requirements for a safe restart of campus operations.

This is a living document and may be subject to change as further information becomes available.

Reopening PUL will align with the University's commitment to safely reopen laboratories, libraries, and other facilities responsibly when state law permits. Our phased plan is as follows:

PHASE 1: (Current phase) Campus operations suspended, all Library facilities closed to Princeton University patrons and not physically staffed

  1. The Library buildings are closed to the public, meaning no patrons may access Library spaces.
  2. Online support, access to online collections, reference services, consultation, and workshops/tutorials continue, and Library staff provide online tutorials in response to queries from students and faculty.
  3. Remote operations for working with data services through the Data and Statistical Services Lab and the Maps and Geospatial Information Center continue (consultation and workshops/training).
  4. Some publishers and vendors have temporarily provided expanded access to online resources to facilitate online instruction and research, and these are listed on the PUL webpage: PUL Support for Remote Research, Teaching and Learning.
  5. Loan periods for print materials currently in circulation have been extended. Renewals can be made online.
  6. Library fines suspended until further notice.
  7. Interlibrary loan services for articles and other resources that can be delivered as a digital copy continue.
  8. Faculty and graduate students are invited to send in requests for digitization that will begin in Phase 2, to support their own research and in anticipation of the possibility of an online-only or partially online fall term.
  9. Focus groups are conducted with faculty and graduate students to gather input and feedback to support resumption of on-site services planning.
  10. Training begins for staff returning to campus to provide Phase 2 services. This training includes usage of personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves as well as hand washing.
  11. Physical spaces are prepared for the return of limited staff, including moving furniture and adding signage regarding protocols and traffic flow.

PHASE 2: Further support for research resumes, a small number of Library staff (10-25% density) return to campus to provide priority on-site services including book pick-up services and in-house digitization on request

  1. The Library remains closed to the public, meaning no patrons may access the Library spaces. A small percentage of Library staff will need to report to campus to perform work that may only be conducted on-site, and they will be provided appropriately safe working conditions, in accordance with University policies and prevailing public health guidance and directives issued by national, state, and local government authorities.
  2. Other Library staff will continue to telework where practicable.
  3. Book pick-up and return services are implemented. The service begins at Firestone and subsequently extends to branch libraries. Patrons will pick up books reserved via the catalog from the Firestone Lobby, and at front entrances in the branches, and leave immediately. Patrons are expected to adhere to best practices for social distancing.
  4. Isolation strategies for returned materials developed and enforced.
  5. Electronic and physical delivery of materials from ReCAP resumes.
  6. HathiTrust Emergency Access Service to digital versions of millions of volumes disabled due to the restoration of access to print collections.
  7. Circulation of BorrowDirect materials resumes as soon as there are a sufficient number of BorrowDirect Libraries ready to circulate these materials.
  8. Enhanced Digitization Service implemented. In light of the increased demand for digital access to books not available through the HathiTrust, as well as requests for materials held in the Library’s special collections, a significant ramp-up of digitization efforts is required. Additional staff, scanners, and digitization equipment will be deployed. Patrons may request the digitization of any analog resource, subject to copyright restrictions.
  9. Graduate students may schedule appointments to pick up materials from their carrels, if they have not already done so.
  10. All other services remain remote.
  11. Physical spaces prepared for limited return of patrons in Phase 3, with the addition of further signage regarding safety protocols and traffic flow.

PHASE 3: Partial reopening (on successful completion of Phase 2 objectives and state law permit) of some Library buildings to Princeton University patrons only

  1. Book pick-up and return services remain in effect.
  2. Pilots conducted to test limited patron access to the open stacks, browsing by appointment, and other methods. Access to the stacks may be restricted to staff or a limited number of patrons at one time.
  3. Workflows for materials selected by patrons from the open stacks during appointments or special hours will be developed. Isolation strategies for materials will be developed and enforced.
  4. Distancing and other safety protocols will continue to be enforced through signage and other means. Masks must be worn at all times. Gloves must be worn when handling books and equipment.
  5. Installation of protective shields at all service points.
  6. Library facilities will gradually reopen with some areas available for study and other uses, subject to the removal of seating, while others remain unavailable because physical distancing cannot be assured.
  7. Limited opening hours are available.
  8. All other services remain remote.

PHASE 4: Return to semi-normal Library operations and increased on-site services

  1. Considerations for resuming semi-normal operations will include the following:
    • Consistent use of masks and gloves and adherence to social distance protocols by patrons during Phase 3, along with other risk mitigation measures, to support Library staff who engage in public services.
    • Successful installation of protective shields at all service points during Phase 3.
    • Successful removal of seating or limitations on access to some areas during Phase 3.
    • Continued 24-hour quarantine of circulated books that have been returned or used in-house.
  2. Removal of most public computer stations to ensure social protocols.
  3. Removal of commonly used items such as staplers, etc.
  4. Special Collections Reading Rooms may have additional limitations in terms of access and use of materials.
  5. Public exhibition areas including Cotsen Children’s Library’s public gallery and the Milberg Exhibition Gallery may open with limited hours and capacity.
  6. Tiger Tea Room may not reopen for some time.
  7. Remote services will continue in support of remote teaching and research.

PHASE 5: Return to new normal Library operations

  1. Restrictions begin to lift as able.
  2. Document published (red light, yellow light, green light) on how PUL will function while mitigating risk in response to virus outbreaks in the future.