Illustration of the back of a person's head on a zoom call from home
The Spring Semester Wasn’t All Sunshine. But Our Volunteer Spirit Helped Make it Brighter.
June 22, 2020

The shift to remote learning this March was necessary in order to ensure that our students, faculty, and staff stayed safe and healthy. Throughout this transition, UT Libraries remained committed to supporting the academic success of our community — uninterrupted.

It takes a lot of awesome people doing incredible things behind the scenes to continue to support each of our Vols. Take a sneak peek at what the transition from an in-person to a completely online semester looked like at UT Libraries. And be assured that we’ll be here to support you this summer, and beyond.

Loaned Materials stay with you longer

Loaned materials stay with you longer – The last things you need to worry about during this time are late fees and how to get your books back to us. All due dates have been extended to August 17, 2020 (at the earliest), and any overdue fines have been waived. All we ask is that you please take good care of your new summer vacation tagalongs until they can once again be reunited with their favorite bookshelf.  

Instructional Support Shifted Online

Instructional support shifted online – Library class instruction moved online via Zoom calls. Librarians were available to answer instructors’ questions while providing resources to ensure that classes were completed successfully throughout the spring semester. Our online Tutorials on using library resources and Lib Guides to the literature of different subject areas proved invaluable. Of course, we are here and available to help this summer as well. Just let us know what you need! 

Books, journals, and articles are even more plentiful – UT Libraries has always been focused on online resources. In fact, we’ve got millions of e-books, articles, databases, and journals available to you. Thankfully, many vendors have temporarily increased access to some of their online resources as well – including unprecedented access to the HathiTrust. What does that mean for you? Just that your access to online resources has increased by another 1.1 million books or so. Over 8 million e-books and resources are now available to you online…not too shabby.

Reimagined daily connections – To be honest, we’ve really missed being at the libraries and seeing each of you. Our daily connections are something we all looked forward to — and thankfully we’re able to keep them going. You can find us online via our chat service 14 hours a day Monday-Friday, and 12 hours a day Saturday and Sunday. We’re here for your questions, comments, or concerns. Or just feel free to pop in to say hi. And remember, our chat services are staffed by . . . well, staff. No bots here. 

Activated awareness for Digital Collections – Academic resources are what we’re known for. But can UT Libraries help you relax and unwind, too? Absolutely! Self-care is more important now than ever, and we’ve got a ton of incredible resources, including movie streaming, language learning, and UT Athletics media guides and game day programs to help you recharge when you’re outside of the virtual classroom.

During the Spring Semester, UT Libraries asked for your stories to archive

Redefined research support – Tackling any research project goes hand in hand with spending time at UT’s libraries. Research support is available from our subject librarians via email or by setting up a Zoom chat. Our job is to ensure that your research needs are met from wherever you may be. The best part? There is a subject librarian available for almost every field of study at UT, so a subject matter expert is available for you!

Your personal stories are being archived – This spring, UT Libraries sent out a call to all students, faculty, and staff to document their experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic through poems, journal entries, videos, or pictures. We invite you to deposit those documents in the University Archives to share your experiences with future Volunteers. Your voice matters. Your experience is unique. We hope you’ll share your story with us.

Although things at UT Libraries may look different today than at the start of last semester, rest assured that we are always here for you – no matter where you are. We are proud to offer exceptional services and resources to our Volunteer community. And we pledge to continue working tirelessly to support you every day.