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Virtual Shelves, Real Stories--Eagles Check Out Books Online

LIbrarian Megan Sawyers restocks shelves after picking up books from students. (Courtesy Photo)

By Emma Duncan--Eagle Assistant Editor

Slowly but surely, everything is becoming digital, especially since the pandemic outbreak. Many order clothes, house hunt, and even buy cars 100% online. Now, Eagles are doing the same when checking out library books.

“I have been given a 'green light' to circulate books again, but the process is different,” Librarian Megan Sawyers began. “We cannot have groups of students come in and physically touch the books, as it would be impossible for me to sanitize all of them afterwards. The best solution we could come up with currently is to try a 'contactless' checkout process.”

Sawyers went on to describe how this process works.

“Students need to sign in to the library catalog system using the same username and password they use to sign into their Chromebook. Once they are signed in, they can search for books and place it on hold. I will then pull the book from the shelf and hand deliver it to the student's classroom,” she explained.

All books have a loan period of three weeks but can be renewed. When finished reading, students can turn their book(s) over to their first period teacher, who will notify Sawyers to come pick it/them up.

“Of course, if [students] happen to be in the Law building, [they] are welcome to drop [their book(s)] in the book return, like always,” Sawyers added.

If students forget to return their book(s) to their first period teacher, or can’t make it to Law, there is one more option.

The book return bin in Student Services. (Courtesy Photo)

“The student services secretaries have been wonderful, allowing me to leave a book return bin in their office,” Sawyers said. “They have also been collecting a few books for me when parents and students have dropped them off there.”

Guidance secretary Kristi Pruett agreed to add the book return bin due to her feelings of the library’s importance.

“I think Mrs. Sawyers is doing a wonderful job making it an option for students to still use our library,” she commented. “The method that Mrs. Sawyers has in place for our library is working great, and I think as the semester moves forward, students will utilize this resource more.”

Even though this nine weeks is just beginning, some students have already checked out books.

“I think that checking the books out online is much easier since we can do this during class and not have to walk all the way to the library in between classes,” explained freshman Ambriana Dixon. “This system will also make it easier when it comes to Covid precautions, since they will have on file who has checked out the same book that the sick person did.”

The new checkout method seems to be a hit with all aspects of this operation, which is important since virtual checkout is here to stay as long as the pandemic continues.

“Sadly I have no way of knowing how long this will last,” Sawyers said. “I will gladly open up normal operation of the library as soon as I’m told that I can. If that happens, students will be able to come into the library and enjoy browsing through the shelves, as we used to, and check out at the circulation desk.”

Even then, virtual checkout may become a permanent option.

“I would love for students to continue signing into the library catalog even if we go back to normal routine, just because it can do more than place books on hold," Sawyers explained. “There’s a place you can rate books you love and leave reviews! It will also give you recommendations based on your searches. Students can see a record of what books they have checked out and if they have any overdue!”

Sawyers said she is excited to bring students back into the library and interact with them but has begun to like this new method just as much.

“I have come to enjoy delivering books placed on hold. I know students don’t get the opportunity to pass the library during their day, [but] I don’t mind delivering them if it helps. I also enjoy the exercise. So as it would not be necessary to log in to check out books, it would be a fun thing for students who would like to interact with the library in a virtual way,” she concluded.

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