A Mid-Semester Update

A Mid-Semester Update by Emily Drabinski, Interim Chief Librarian 

Dear Graduate Center community,

I want to share a brief mid-semester update on library operations during the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. Like you, we long to be back in our quiet scholarly oasis in midtown Manhattan. As we wait for pandemic conditions to lift, we continue to operate remotely.

Emily Drabinski, Interim Chief Librarian, photo by Alex Irklievski.

Our commitment to the teaching, learning, and research that happens at the Graduate Center remains, and we hope all of you are taking advantage of our online resources and services: workshops and instruction in tools like Zotero, Scrivener, and OneSearch; robust interlibrary loan; the hundreds of ebooks added to our collections since March; ongoing Mina Rees Conversations; and one on one research services via chat and by appointment with our skilled subject librarians.

So what comes next?

We continue to plan for and work toward a return to onsite services that centers the safety of everyone at the GC, including library staff and faculty. Our work is guided by two documents linked here: the Graduate Center Reactivation Plan and the CUNY Libraries COVID-19 Task Force report. We are currently in Phase 1 of the Graduate Center plan and at Stage 0 of the CUNY Libraries plan. Stage 1 includes limited return of staff to process materials returns and to begin scanning services; stage 2 features closed stack circulation of materials from the Graduate Center library.

We know you are anxious to return to pre-Covid access to library resources, services, and spaces. So are we. As we prioritize the safety of everyone in the GC community, we must necessarily move slowly. We meet research needs—yours and ours—by circulating materials, not just those on our shelves but those from New York Public Library, other CUNY libraries, and libraries across the city, state, country, and world. That act of circulation itself has become extraordinarily dangerous since this pandemic began. In a word, it’s complicated.

The good news is that we continue to build solutions to Covid-19 research issues facing scholars everywhere including here at the Graduate Center. It’s likely that some of the issues you’re facing can be addressed by our staff. I want to encourage you to reach out to the liaison librarian in your department—click here to see a list. You may be surprised by what we are able to find for you.

I also invite you to join me at noon on the first Wednesday of every month to share your concerns about library access and to hear news from me. Click here to sign up for our next session on November 4th.

Emily Drabinski

Interim Chief Librarian, Mina Rees Library

About the Author

Elvis Bakaitis is currently the Head of Reference at the Mina Rees Library. They're also proud to serve on the University LGBTQ Council, and as a board member of CLAGS: The Center for LGBTQ Studies.