Moffitt Library to reopen in April on reservation system

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Joe Sison/Staff
Students will be able to reserve study spaces at Moffitt Library after spring break.

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Starting April 5, students will be able to reserve study spaces at Moffitt Library for up to three hours.

Students who are interested can make appointments but will have to adhere to Moffitt Library’s community health protocols, including low-density seating and mask-wearing at all times. Food and drink are also prohibited in the building. The campus will provide more details regarding the reopening after spring break.

Students with disabilities will have priority for appointments, according to Amanda Hill, campus sophomore and Academic Senate Library Committee member.

“(Moffitt) has the capacity for about 50 people, and after spring break all students will be welcome,” Hill said in a tweet Thursday. “Please note all of this is tentative and subject to change.”

On Monday, Moffitt launched a pilot program that opened 20 study seats on floors four and five. The two-week “soft launch,” is available through invitations that were sent to student groups, according to Elizabeth Dupuis, senior associate university librarian and director of Doe and Moffitt Libraries.

Libraries closed in March 2020 with the rest of campus facilities. This left many students, especially those with disabilities, without appropriate study spaces, Hill noted.

“A lot of students do not have quiet spaces to study and complete school work, or have limited access to wifi,” Hill said in an email. “Having our libraries and other study spaces open, whenever safe and possible, is an issue of equity for students who may not have the same resources as some of their peers.”

This development is chapter three of the campus library’s five-chapter reopening plan and is the first to allow students to physically occupy the library. The following chapter will expand open locations and allow more students to use the library spaces.

Although no timeline has been established, the library website states chapter five will mean fully opening the long-term “optimal and sustainable” capacities of campus libraries. Campus libraries are expected to function differently, however, from past models of library services, according to the website.

Students who want the benefits of a shared study experience but cannot or prefer not to reserve the in-person appointments at Moffitt Library can sign up for Doe Library’s “virtual study halls,” which take place over Zoom on Tuesdays, Dupuis added.

“Since the pandemic started, we’ve heard from students (including in the Daily Cal) lamenting the loss of in-person study space, and longing for the companionship of studying ‘alone together’ in our libraries,” Dupuis said in an email. “We look forward to the day when we can safely open more of our spaces, while doing all we can to ensure the health and well-being of our community.”

Mia Scher also contributed to this article.

Contact Emma Taila at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @emmataila.