An Update from Emily Drabinski, Interim Chief Librarian

June 7, 2021

Dear Graduate Center community,

Today marks the first time students have returned to our library space to study, read, and write since we closed our doors in response to rising COVID-19 infection rates in March 2020. It seems both like another universe and like just yesterday. Things look different here now. Occupancy limits are restricting use and everyone is masked and distanced. Things also look the same. The quiet space that you remember is here for you again. 

A highlight from this morning: welcoming back students!

We have worked hard to maintain our services and collections at a distance while our physical spaces have been closed. You have taken advantage of our online workshops and dialogue series in record numbers, used our digital interlibrary loan services and ebook detective service to locate research materials, managed the entire dissertation and thesis deposit process online, and accessed our electronic course reserves and expanded electronic books and database subscriptions. 

Like you, we look forward to checking out books again. And while we wish this was as easy as flipping a switch, it isn’t. What people outside the library don’t often see is the extraordinary complexity of library infrastructure. Over the past academic year, CUNY Libraries migrated to a new library services platform called Alma. It changes how we do everything, soup to nuts: acquiring a book, making it show up in the catalog so you can find it, checking it out to you, checking it back in and reshelving it when you’re done. This is a heavy lift for us! As library staff begin to return to the building we will bring this system online, targeting Monday, August 16th as our return to physical lending. We are grateful for your patience as we bring our systems online.

The safety of library workers, students, and the entire Graduate Center community continues to be the first priority. As we respond to the shifting public health picture we will keep the community updated on changes to our onsite services. We continue to be open online and invite you to review what’s available to you here

And please schedule a time to come back to the library. Reserve a day pass at this link, Monday through Thursday, 9am to 5pm. I would love to see you here!

Emily Drabinski

Interim Chief Librarian | Mina Rees Library 

About the Author

Elvis Bakaitis is the Interim Head of Reference at the Mina Rees Library.