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USEK Library Lockdown Exit Strategy: Safety Measures

This guide outlines USEK Library safety measures and phases for its gradual reopening.

Our opening hours are from Monday to Friday, from 8: 00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m.

A date for fully reopening library buildings to the public has not yet been set.

1. Returned Items

a)Recommended Quarantine Period

a. Paper documents without plastic elements:  3-day quarantine minimum.

b. Paper documents (monographs or periodicals) with laminated cover: 10-day quarantine.

c. Plastic documents (CDs, DVDs, cases, etc.) : 10-day quarantine.

b)Returning Books Process at USEK Library

To decrease the risk of contamination, all returned and building use items will be quarantined for 15 days according to the below terms:

  • Users should drop the returned books into the Book Drop outside the library.
  • Items that arrive at the same day will be gathered within a cardboard box, labeled with the return date and the expected date of re-shelving at the end of the quarantine period (15 days).
  • When relocating the returned books from the Book drop to a cardboard box, the stacks controller will be wearing a mask, face shield and gloves. (This process will be done outside the library, next to the drop box).
  • While moving the books, the stacks controller will collect their barcodes with a data collector.
  • All the barcodes gathered will be used to check-in the returned books, to release users’ names.
  • The quarantine area will be in the basement (the area) under the stairs that is not accessible neither for public nor for staff.

2. Reporting the Unavailability of a Quarantined Document in the Library Catalog

The books statuses will be changed from On Loan to Quarantine; and after the quarantine period will be set to Available; the purpose of this new status Quarantine is to avoid searching for an item in open access or in basement and to prevent it from being booked by a user before the end of the quarantine period.

3. Cleaning/Disinfection of Furniture and Surfaces

Daily cleaning and disinfection plans (one way system) are set for the spaces, including common areas. Particular attention will be paid to regularly handled surfaces (stairways, door handles, tables, workstations, photocopiers, etc.).

  • Materials will be disinfected with disinfectant following the guidelines of WHO.
  • All the equipment, furniture and workstations will be cleaned before and after their use: chairs, tables, keyboards, mouse, screens, photocopiers, public areas which may have been touched.
  • Hand sanitizer bottles will be placed at the entrance of the library, at the reception and circulation desks and on the tables of the reading room.

4. Air Condition/Ventilation

There are ongoing questions about the possibility of contamination through air-conditioning systems: therefore,  ACs in Reading Room will be turned off.

During this time, we will be opening windows and doors that allow fresh air into the building.

5. Availability of USEK Library Facilities

  • Library study rooms and the conference room will remain closed until further notice.
  • Reading Room 2 will remain closed until further notice: couches will encourage groups gathering; therefore, they may risk the spread of the virus; in addition, Open Access consultation can promote the spread of the virus through collections.
  • Reading Room 1 will reopen with the capacity of 15 simultaneous users; 15 Seats will be assigned and marked with signage reminding users of the necessity of social distancing. (check users’ guidelines to know how to book an appointment)
  • 2 public workstations will be assigned for public use only: the use of personal laptops is highly recommended; Materials that may be touched frequently, may need to remain inaccessible until the risk is low.
  • Use of personal pens is highly recommended.
  • Use of photocopier is not recommended unless necessary.
  • Signage will be dispatched in the reading room to guide users.

6. Inaccessible Materials

The below materials are inaccessible until further notice:

  • Manuscripts
  • Rare books
  • Archival materials
  • Old newspapers

7. Users Guidelines

Users should abide by the below guidelines for their safeties:

  • Users cannot access the USEK Library without previous individual appointments; Users should book their seats and their schedule before coming.
  • Appointment will be set by sending an email to reference@usek.edu.lb or contacting: 09600381.
  • To maintain physical distance (1.5 to 2 m), we have limited the capacity of the library to a fixed maximum number of users: 15 simultaneous users with a limited period of time.
  • Each user is obliged to wear face mask and gloves before entering and using the library.
  • Each user should disinfect his/her hands at the entrance of the library and wait for one minute to use the library tools and materials.
  • Hand sanitizer bottles will be placed at the entrance of the library, at the reception and circulation desks and on the tables of the reading room.
  • Returning books is not allowed at the reception desk or the circulation desk; user should drop the book into the Book Drop outside the library.
  • Requesting books is not allowed on the premises of the library; requesting books will remain online and the books pick-up will remain through the Drive-Thru Service until further notice.
  • Books requested from the basement and used within the library will be kept on an assigned table to be quarantined same as the returned books.
  • Use of public workstations will be restricted to 2 workstations only; the use of personal laptops is highly recommended; Materials that may be touched frequently, may need to remain inaccessible until the risk is low enough.
  • In case of individual support for the use of a workstation, the wearing of the mask is essential for the librarian and the user. Safety distances should be respected as much as possible: it is recommended to stay at a distance behind the user rather than taking his place at the workstation.
  • Users should avoid shaking hands, hugging, and socializing with other users and staff in the library building.

8. Research Help Services

All the USEK library Research Services remain active remotely until further notice.

  1. Chat online: Extended hours are now in place.
  2. For any query, users can contact us at: reference@usek.edu.lb.
  3. Online research consultation: users can book an appointment by sending an email to our Reference Librarian.
  4. Online sessions (Refworks, APA , Electronic Resources access, etc.); users can schedule a session at least 24 hours in advance by contacting our Training Department.

9. Public Services Staff Guidelines

  • Staff at reception and Circulation desks will be required to wear a mask and be able to regularly disinfect their hands with a sanitizer.
  • Staff in public area will monitor and ensure that all the above guidelines are applied correctly; Exemptions are not allowed.
  • In case of individual support for the use of a computer station, the wearing of the mask is essential for the librarian and the user. Safety distances should be respected as much as possible: it is recommended to stay at a distance behind the user to guide him rather than taking his place at the computer station.
  • Staff should avoid shaking hands, hugging, and socializing with users.
  • Plexiglas Shield will be installed at the reception and circulation desk. 

This guide is inspired by "COVID-19 and the Global Library Field" published by IFLA.