• Anthony Udayakumar

NYIT Librarians are Helping Students During the Pandemic

Even with the pandemic forcing most classes to re- mote teaching, New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) librarians in the Manhattan campus are relentless in trying to give many services and help for the students. As students attend school via remote learning, NYIT librar- ians have found many ways to aid students by changing how the library is operated. “The librarians at NYIT are always looking for innovation to help the students, al- ways trying to reach out and listen to them with what they want help with,” said Elisabete Ferretti, a Librarian at NYIT, on a Zoom call addressing the school’s library. The library at the NYIT Manhattan campus was a place where many students did homework, projects, printing, studying, renting out textbooks, and was even just a place where students can interact with one another and their school. However, since this past March, COVID- 19 has halted many aspects of life around the world in- cluding education. Because of this, the NYIT library has had to adapt to aid the students and try to help them as usual. The library itself has made changes for the pandemic and it is still open for students to use. The library is still open from Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m but there are many precautions. “Masks are required, glass walls are on the desks and the library’s tables and com- puters are at a proper distance for social distancing,” said Elisabete Ferretti. She also claims that for the most part, many people are not coming to the library at all and not many librarians are there working in person. However, students are still allowed to come as long as they follow guidelines for COVID-19. Many librarians and the library itself are mostly working online and remotely. How- ever, Ferretti explains “the library still has classes and rooms that are semi-open for students to use such as 3D printing and the study rooms,” There are still rooms that students can use for schoolwork. She also emphasizes, “The library has also made curbside pickups available for students.” Curbside pickups reduce contact with people coming to the library. ”My job remains the same except when we are in the office, we are required to wear masks, practice social dis- tancing, and use hand sanitizer,” said James Corry, an- other NYIT Librarian. The librarians themselves have put mandatory rules for them to practice in order to prevent the possible spread of the virus. “There are markings on the floor to remind visitors to the library to practice so- cial distancing,” explained James Corry. There are many reminders in the library for people to see and to point out the changes in the library that they must adhere to for the virus. “The librarians are always having a meeting with one another to change the webpage and help the students,” says Ferretti. Most of the services and help that students can receive are on the NYIT library page and there is a guide for the upcoming fall semester that showcases all these changes. “Live chats with librarians online are open from Monday to Friday from 8 p.m to 10 a.m,” said Ferretti. The students can communicate with librarians via text chat anytime to ask questions and receive help for any question they have. The library has completely become a virtual library for students to use with new services that the students can use. “The students can make appointments with the librarians for group or one-on-one assistance,” Ferretti said. The workshops and help that the students knew be- fore are all still here but also remotely, such as Zoom calls which librarians use for appointments to help students and teachers. “Students have access to a large number of research databases in all disciplines and subject areas were in- creased and Librarians began using Zoom to conduct workshops, classes, and online instructions,” Corry said. The library was vital for students offering textbooks and reading materials, however, with the pandemic, the li- brary had to find new ways to bring these services to stu- dents remotely. The library has also “waived off-late fees that students may have,” according to James Corry. Mrs. Ferretti says, “The library is always digitizing pages that students want from books,” The library has acquired the chapters and pages that students want to use for their schoolwork and send it to them digitally. Mr. Corry states, “We continue to purchase books with an emphasis on eb- ooks so students can access them remotely.” The library is willing to buy ebooks and try their best to get new mate- rial for students. However, students can still come to the library physically and get what they need at the library. The pandemic has also made technology a key factor for remote learning and the library has helped people with technical issues. The library has given and sent out devic- es for students to use for school. Elisabete Ferretti says, “students can use a self-checkout on the first floor for laptops.” Having access to a computer is necessary to take part in remote learning and the library has provided for those who currently do not have one to use. The libraries have also helped students in being able to learn remote- ly by providing internet access. Mrs. Ferretti states,” The library has also been offering wifi hotspots for people to use.” COVID-19 has changed many aspects of the library at NYIT, however, librarians have innovated the library con- stantly to help the students. They are trying to continue to find ways to reach out to students and find new ways that the library can improve its services remotely and combat the bounds of the pandemic.

Photo by Yimli Longkum