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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim, Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Despite shutdown, library still functioning remotely

In accordance with Gov. Tom Wolf’s directives, the Post Learning Commons (PLC) and Francis A. Drexel Library were closed. PHOTO: LUKE MALANGA ’20/THE HAWK

Even though the Francis A. Drexel Library physically remains closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, the virtual library is open for business.

Like many libraries, St. Joe’s has been shifting a number of its resources online in recent years, making the transition to virtual relatively seamless.

“We really didn’t have too much of an adjustment because a lot of our services are already remotely accessible,” said Anne Krakow, library director.

In fact, Krakow said the majority of the library’s collection is already online.

“We’ve been increasing the amount of e-books we’ve had available in the past couple years particularly, so I’d say that our electronic presence is far greater than our print presence,” Krakow said. 

Library staff are also working remotely, staffing the library’s chat, offering in-depth consultations remotely and providing library instruction to classes via Zoom. 

The biggest challenge, however, is for students and faculty engaging in more in-depth research who normally would have relied on interlibrary loan (ILL), via HawkShare and E-ZBorrow, particularly for physical books. 

Krakow said the challenges began when universities began to close.

“A lot of interlibrary loan services across the country were starting to halt their borrowing and lending of print items,” Krakow said. “We’re kind of at a cease process there.”

But HawkShare, which delivers electronic copies of articles and chapters of books not available through any of the library’s other electronic databases, is still mostly functional, Krakow said. 

“It depends on what exists out there at other libraries,” Krakow said. “For example, [if] we don’t have a journal that’s online but we see that Penn has it, we ask Penn for it. Since a lot of content has been made accessible online, you have a good chance of finding what you need.”

Material generally arrives within three to five days of the request and is e-mailed directly to patrons. If it takes longer, it is generally because of limitations with another library, Krakow said. 

“Maybe other libraries don’t have the same capabilities as we do,” Krakow said. “We’re lucky because our ILL service is able to do this all remotely, it’s in the cloud. Other libraries don’t have that, so we’re pretty lucky that we can send a lot of these articles electronically.”

Krakow said many publishers have also started offering additional and free content to the library, making it easier to access more materials and resources.

“What we’re trying to do is work with existing vendors that we have, and seeing if they’re adding content to something we already have,” Krakow said.

The library has also extended the date that loaned books can be returned to Aug. 26 with no fines between now and then.

“We’ve tried to make it as easy as possible so people are not going to be penalized for things they can’t control,” Krakow said.

Krakow said she is confident that the library will be able to assist members of the university even though the library remains closed. 

“We’ve tried to translate everything we normally do this time of year at the library to a remote version,” Krakow said. “We’re connecting and keeping things going.”

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