Safety Now, Reward Later: Falvey Library’s Pandemic Policies


Courtesy of The Villanovan

Safety Now, Reward Later: Falvey Library’s Pandemic Policies

Jacob Artz Staff Writer

When I walked into Falvey Library for the first time this year, I felt like I was in Whoville when the Grinch took all the Christmas decorations and gifts, including the last can of “who hash.”  The first floor is bare, and the desks and computers have vanished. We must, however, remember we are in the midst of a pandemic, and for us to return to normal soon, we must execute what is safe for the University community.

Falvey should set up the first floor in a more inviting way so students, especially freshmen, can get a taste of what Falvey is all about. We see in other student areas that all the furniture is set up, but some are closed off to maintain social distancing. While these changes are helpful, I believe that Falvey should adhere to the following blueprint.  

The library can set up the tables and have two chairs instead of four. It could also have half of the computers in place. We already use classrooms and study spaces frequently this semester, while wiping them down after usage.  

I can certainly understand why they implemented the changes. As an employee of the library, I discussed these changes with three of my supervisors: Ms. Cengal, Mr. Dierkes and Mr. Sgier.  They are all working in the Access Service area coordinating contactless pickup, assisting patrons with various questions via the virtual service desk, sorting books in the processing area and working tirelessly on many improvement projects within Falvey Library. Safety must be the first priority, and this plan showcases how the community cares for its students. It would be hypocritical of Falvey to ignore the safety of students by irresponsibly setting up the first floor.  

Ms. Cengal concurred, explaining, “The point of the setup is to make sure the staff feels safe as we can still help people get books, while maintaining safety for the employees and students.”  

While maintaining safety, the library continues to be a tremendous aid for all students on campus with their services of loaning books for classes, finding research for graduate classes and serving as a social hub for many students on campus. I work at the desk at Falvey and have met countless new students and professors, which has helped my networking significantly.  I miss the social aspect of it all, but we will celebrate later once we return to normal.

The social aspect is important, and Mr. Sgier recognizes this. We must settle for  what the virus gives us and remain vigilant during this time. The library still offers all of its services in a different form.

“I think the changes have allowed us to offer academic support to the Villanova community during this very difficult and challenging time,” Mr. Sgier said. “It is different. There are limitations on where students can go and where they can study. The access of certain spaces and materials have changed. This might seem annoying, but the main priority for these changes is creating a safe environment for students and faculty to access critical academic support, and for the staff to provide it.”

The library offers pick up services for students, where the shelving employees collect requested books and put them in bags on the first floor. 

The Speaker’s Corner in the back of the first floor is available for studying and classes. The third and fourth floors are only for employees, but the first and second floors are open until midnight for students. 

As the situation of the virus continues to improve, Mr. Dierkes gave an optimistic outlook on revising the floor plan for the later part of the semester when the weather inevitably turns cold.   

“The students have shown themselves to handle the current restrictions responsibly, thus far,” he said. “I would hope this fact would influence decision makers to allow for additional indoor seating.”

I hope he is right and that Falvey can return to what it was.      

We will return the first floor to a place where students can gather responsibly to work in groups and socialize with others. 

Let the Grinch come back with his triumphant horn when the students have repeatedly proven themselves responsible, so that tables and computers can reign once again on the first floor.