University Library adds, modifies services to assist users


Watch University Library's video highlighting its Cyclones Care precautions for fall semester.

University Library reopened earlier this month with new and modified services to help protect the health and safety of all who use it. In addition to important actions everyone can take, highlighted by Cyclones Care, library staff changed some operations in response to the pandemic. They also implemented new ways to access information.

Library materials and loans

Checkout times on library materials like books and DVDs for undergraduate students and merit staff have increased from four to 12 weeks.

"Because of COVID-19 and the fact that during the summer we were mailing things out, we decided to keep the 12-week time period. We don't want people getting caught short," said head of access services Dawn Mick.

Interlibrary loan was shelved for borrowing physical items until the end of July as many libraries closed or reduced staff because of the coronavirus. Requests are now being filled, but it can take longer because a three-day quarantine on all received items is in effect. Scanned items have been available throughout the pandemic.

As of Tuesday, about 900 libraries out of more than 1,800 across the U.S. and Canada have resumed lending, Mick said.

The library material delivery service will continue at least through the semester even though Parks Library has reopened.

Special collections and university archives

Launched this month, Aeon is the library's online request system for special collection and archive materials. It allows faculty, staff and students to request items in the collection and keeps a digital record. Copies of most materials also can be requested.

"In our old system, we gave out these carbon copy slips to help remember what people had looked at," said reference coordinator Olivia Garrison. "For students, it is really helpful to have that record of what you have looked at electronically and not have to keep track of those pieces of paper that can get lost."

Users must create an account to access Aeon or log on through Okta.

In response to the coronavirus and the need for physical distancing, access to special collections and university archives is available only by appointment 10 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Appointments must be made at least 24 hours in advance.

The library continues to make researcher copies for individuals who are unable to come to Parks, Garrison said. Individuals can use Aeon or email requests to archives.

Accessing online resources

After spring semester ended in May, the library implemented a new interface, OpenAthens, for accessing electronic resources. Whether on- or off-campus, users need to log in via Okta the first time they access a subscription-based database, electronic journal or e-book. Those who use bookmarks to link to frequently used resources will need to replace any bookmarks created prior to May 11. 

Streaming service

This spring, the university gained full access to the Kanopy film library of more than 30,000 titles. Anyone with an ISU Card can access the streaming service free of charge.

"It is similar to Netflix, but the focus is more on independent and classic films, documentaries and educational content," said associate university librarian for scholarly communications and collections Curtis Brundy. "It really is content that fills in the areas not covered by other streaming services."

Kanopy can be streamed on a range of devices from televisions, desktops and laptops to tablets and mobile phones.

As more instruction is done online, faculty and students have greater demand for streaming content, Brundy said. Previously, the library had licensed titles through Kanopy on a case-by-case basis, a time-consuming process.

"This is a way for us to support faculty and the work they are doing in the classroom," Brundy said.


The library has added a bug in the top left corner of its webpage to alert visitors when seating is readily available.

"We installed some sensors that help us determine how many people are in the building, and how many of our seats are full," Mick said. "It helps people decide if they want to come into the building, depending how crowded it is."