The James Joyce library will provide limited study spaces for undergraduate students this trimester in an effort to comply with COVID-19 restrictions and physical distancing guidelines.  Additionally, opening hours have been minimised and there is currently no access to other UCD library locations.

The library, which ordinarily opens seven days a week, will now only be available between Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 am to 4 pm with a 50-person capacity. It is unknown whether this limit includes staff members.

In a statement given to The College Tribune a spokesperson for UCD Libraries explained, “In preparation for the next academic year we are working closely with UCD Estates and the UCD Safety, Insurance, Operational Risk and Compliance Office to determine the number of students that will be allowed in each library while ensuring compliance with COVID regulations and social distancing protocols.” They added, “Students will have access to all five libraries to borrow and use the study spaces from the beginning of the trimester. We will be introducing a booking system to manage the study spaces in a fair and compliant manner.”

“Browsing, borrowing, and consultation of non-circulating materials will be possible”, according to UCD’s student services website. However, advance registration is required.  A retrieval service has been created which allows students to request that books from Health Sciences, Veterinary, Richview, and Blackrock be put on hold. Students must complete an online request form and once the books are available, they will receive an email notification to collect them from the James Joyce library.

As a result of these COVID-19 restrictions, no fines will be issued for overdue items and all loans on books borrowed in the last academic year will be extended to September 1st. If students wish to return their books they can use the book drop outside the James Joyce library or send their book to the library by post.

The James Joyce library has been open since June 22nd for academic staff and research postgraduates and has been available to all postgraduate students since June 29th. However, postgraduate students must reserve their study space in advance. In an update on the library website, it was explained that those returning to campus must fill out a ‘Return to Work’ application and complete a “UCD COVID-19 Induction Tutorial” prior to their arrival. Moreover, students must sign in and out of the library each day and wear a face covering.

A similar approach has been taken by Trinity College as the University Times reported that masks are now mandatory for those studying on campus. TCD libraries have been open since July to academic staff, postgraduates but also students working on their dissertations or studying for resits.

Emma Hanrahan – Reporter

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