Last updated: August 6, 2020

Due to COVID-19 and safety considerations, we have made some changes for this fall. You may be wondering what that will look like. Please find answers to some of your questions, below. If you have additional questions, Ask Us!

The DeWitt Wallace Library continues to provide a great breadth of collections and materials, stellar services to help you with your research and questions, and a variety of library spaces for academic work.

Library Spaces

When will the library open?

We are anticipating opening during the week of August 31 for current Macalester students, staff, and faculty.

What hours will the library be open this fall?

We anticipate having a schedule that is reduced from those in previous years–but in line with the classroom use in the building, which is from 8:00 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. We will update when this decision is made.

How will the library look different?

The library building has gone through some changes to help us all all stay healthy through social distancing and personal hygiene. Here are some of the changes you may notice right away:

  • spacing for reduced seat capacity, some furniture has been  removed
  • scan in with ID (even if just attending a class)
  • some areas will be closed off and clearly marked
  • all public computers have been removed
  • cleaning stations will be located throughout the library
  • this is in addition to all of the health reminders and cleaning protocols put in place, campus-wide

Library Services

Are librarians available to help students with research assignments/projects and to provide library course sessions and workshops?

Definitely! Students: sign up for a Virtual Research Consultation for help with remote library research, organization, and citations. Faculty: Use Ask Us! to contact us with your library and information literacy needs and ideas for your course.

What if I just have a quick question?

We will be staffing chat and our Ask Us form during library hours, in order to help with library questions, whether you are in person or remote.

Will the library have reserve items to check out this year, such as textbooks?

The library will not be offering a physical reserves collection (print books, DVDs, CDs) this academic year. This includes the MCSG print textbook reserve program. 

Can I check out laptops and dongles?

Equipment and tech items have moved to the Digital Resource Center; check equipment availability online with TechCheckout. There will be no laptop checkout on campus this year. Students who do not have access to a laptop that meets their academic needs should reach out to financial aid via the Emergency Aid Program (EAP)

Can I still use Interlibrary Loan?

Yes! Although, please keep this consideration in mind as you plan your work for a shortened 7-week module time frame: Access to physical resources (e.g. print books, DVDs) will be slowed this academic year, sometimes considerably, due to factors such as material quarantine (3 days before it arrives), contactless services, and interlibrary loan limitations across the country.

Will I be able to print?

Yes, there will be one print station in the library and additional stations across campus.

Library Collections and Materials

How do I check out a print book? 

For summer, faculty and staff can request physical materials from our collections for fall course preparation and critical research needs. This is the level of service we are able to offer with current staffing and resources. The contactless pickup window is 9:00-11:00 a.m. each Wednesday during the summer. More information, instructions, and ongoing library updates: Remote Teaching: Library Support page.

In the fall, we will continue with contactless pickup for students, faculty, and staff, and we will provide more information and instructions. Access to library physical resources (e.g. print books, DVDs) will be slowed this academic year, sometimes considerably, due to factors such as material quarantine and contactless services. We encourage all in the Mac Community to keep this in mind, as you plan your courses and work–especially in a shortened 7-week module time frame. 

How do I find all of the online items that I can access from the library?

Well, we do have an abundance of library materials in electronic format: academic books, journal articles, streaming video, streaming audio, and art collections to name a few.

You can find a mix of all of our library resources by searching WorldCat Discovery. You may also find our Research Guides by subject area and Troubleshooting Access Issues to be valuable tools. If you would like any help streamlining your searches, or if you have questions, don’t hesitate to Ask Us!

What do I do if I can’t get a hold of a book for my research assignment or project? Will the library purchase a book? 

For students:
Please schedule a consultation with a Research & Instruction Librarian.

For faculty/staff:
Please use our online form to submit your orders. This is the most efficient way for us to process your request during this academic year. Our focus for the 2020-21 Academic Year will be acquiring materials supporting current curricular and research needs. The default for purchases will be in an online format to ensure access regardless of one’s location or ability to come to campus during the pandemic.

Why can’t I just browse the library shelves and pick out a book to check out?

The short and over-simplified answer is that we have agreed to close off our shelves in order to have electronic access to almost half of our print collection from the HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access Service. Alternatively, look for the Browse the Shelf button in WorldCat to browse the library’s titles virtually.

This is the long answer:

Macalester HathiTrust membership and relationship to print book access:

The library became members of HathiTrust in 2018, which allows us to take advantage of their ETAS (Emergency Temporary Access Service) during the pandemic, as long as we adhere to their legal guidelines. This collection offers extensive ebook access to the Mac community, including nearly half of our local print collection. ETAS also impacts how we provide access to library print collections:

What is HathiTrust? 

  • HathiTrust is a partnership of academic and research institutions, offering a collection of ~ 6.5+ million public domain ebook titles, digitized from libraries around the world. 

What is HathiTrust ETAS?

  • ETAS provides additional immediate online access to copyrighted titles–almost half of our library’s print circulating collection, including recent publications. This provides extensive access to our collection regardless of one’s location or ability to come to the library.

How does it work?

  • ETAS is allowed because it adheres to the same model as library purchased print titles: access to one copy to one person at a time. The ETAS copy is a surrogate for our print copy so we have to agree to not offer any form of access to the print titles we own that reside in HathiTrust.
  • All titles can be discovered through WorldCat Discovery searches. If the “View eBook” button takes you to a HathiTrust page for the item, log into HathiTrust with your Macalester credentials using the instructions on our Electronic Resources Guide: Ebooks.
  • Copyrighted ETAS titles are provided via login, within a web browser (no downloads), one person at a time, for 60 minute periods. Automatic renewal is allowed if no other Mac individuals are waiting in the queue.
  • Scanning of chapters from the print copy of an ETAS title by library staff is allowed to fulfill document delivery, course needs (e.g. Moodle), or interlibrary loan requests. The library is developing scanning services to fulfill this need.

What impact does ETAS have on the ability to browse and check out print titles?

  • ETAS books cannot be browsed or circulated due to legal agreements. Because ETAS books are intermingled with non-ETAS books, physical browsing of our stacks is not allowed.
  • “Shelf browsing” can be done virtually in WorldCat Discovery. 
  • Non-ETAS print titles can be requested ahead of time through WorldCat Discovery for contactless pickup.

Why does HathiTrust require these restrictions?

  • ETAS can be requested by member libraries and is allowed for those experiencing “unexpected or involuntary disruption to normal operations, requiring it to be closed to the public, or otherwise restrict collection access services, so that users cannot gain access to items in the collection as they ordinarily would.” Once we are able to provide regular access to all of the Macalester community, we will no longer qualify for the emergency, online access. ETAS terms of service