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Director's Note

These times are momentous. They will go down in history books. These times are also sad, hopeful, stressful, gut-wrenching, passionate and, most of all, changing.

Everyone refers to the “new normal”. For libraries, that means many things. We are currently working on a reopening plan. We have consulted CDC guidelines as well as other libraries about best practices.

The mission is to provide service but assure the safety of our team as well as our patrons.

All library faculty and staff wear masks and, when working at a library service desk, also wear face shields. The library has moved furniture and taped off areas to encourage physical distancing of patrons. All checked out items are disinfected or quarantined after returning. Cleaning of high-touch areas occurs regularly. The book stacks are off-limits to patrons, but library personnel will retrieve items for people if needed.

Research help consultations with librarians will continue in a virtual format via Zoom to maintain distancing requirements.

We will continue to have personnel working from home as we limit exposure for people by staggering schedules. The new norm allows the library to open again for patrons to study in quiet environments and access physical collections, but it isn't exactly like it was before.

The recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black people by police and the following protests of racism throughout the United States and the world have also caused change. Good change.

We need to be aware that we are a diverse country and all humans are equal. With that in mind, the library is adding diversity, equity and inclusion goals to our strategic plan.

Our library is active in the University Libraries Diversity Committee as well as the College of Medicine Diversity Council. We know we are not perfect, and if anyone has recommendations for making our collections or services more equitable for the College of Medicine students, faculty and staff, please let me know.

If you are looking for diversity, anti-racism, equity and social justice information, please reach out your library liaison directly or email and we will l help you access the wide selection of resources throughout University Libraries.

Kelly Thormodson, MLIS
Associate Dean for Library and Information Services
Library Director
Harrell Health Sciences Library: Research and Learning Commons

Harrell Library reopens July 13 with limited capacity, new guidelines

Harrell Health Sciences Library reopened to on-campus students at Penn State College of Medicine on July 13. New guidelines are in place to ensure the safety of all library users and employees.  Read the full story.