Welcome to Mason Libraries – Spring 2021

Mason Libraries welcomes new and returning students and faculty to the Spring 2021 semester! As our environment continues to look different this year, know we are here to support your scholarly endeavors and to help you succeed in your studies. The best place to find out about our current services and any updates are our FAQs page and our Services Updates page, which we update regularly.

What to expect this spring:

Expanded Online Resources & Virtual Services. The Libraries will continue to support the Mason community through expanded electronic resources and virtual services, including virtual workshops, instruction sessions, and research consultations. We will also continue our expanded hours for our virtual reference service.

Library Access: Access to any library location will be limited to Mason students, faculty, and staff. Signage will be posted to indicate the university’s Safe Return to Campus guidelines – such as physical distancing, wearing face coverings, and other protocols – and those who do not adhere to the university policies and guidelines may be asked to leave. Our hours have been updated for the spring semester and may change if needed.

Closed Stacks: Circulation requests should be made via your library account, and the stacks will be closed for browsing. If you encounter difficulty placing your request, please email fencirc@gmu.edu. Requests for access to some collections (such as in our Special Collections Research Center) will be by appointment-only.

Study Spaces and Computers: To promote physical distancing and follow university guidelines, some tables, carrels, workstations, and chairs have been removed or marked out-of-use in each library. The number of people allowed in each library building will also be limited to allow for appropriate distancing. Some spaces and areas may also be closed. For example, group study rooms will be closed, while individual study rooms will be available for reservation.

Furniture: The furniture in each library location has been moved (or removed in some cases) and spaced to allow for appropriate distancing. Please help us all stay safe by not moving or rearranging the furniture.

Food and Drink: No food and beverages are allowed in library locations, with the exception of water in a closed container. Please help us maintain clean and safe spaces by not bringing in food or drink. Face coverings should be worn at all times, unless actively drinking.

Health & safety protocols:

Current status information:

The Libraries will follow university and state guidelines. Our FAQs will be updated as needed. Responses are based on Mason’s Safe Return plan and current information. Responses and available services are subject to change.

General information on library services:

Mason Libraries provides free 24/7 access to thousands of online resources for Mason faculty, students and staff – just use your Mason NetID and password. Visit library.gmu.edu to discover what the Libraries offer to support and enhance your learning, teaching, and research at Mason. Highlights include:

A few updates on library subscriptions and services:

Welcome to Mason + What’s New at the Libraries

Mason Libraries welcomes the Mason Nation to academic year 2020-21! We know things look different this year, but we are here to support your scholarly endeavors and to help you succeed in your studies. The best place to find out about our current services is our FAQ page, which we update regularly.

What to expect this fall:

Expanded Online Resources & Virtual Services. The Libraries will continue to support the Mason community through expanded electronic resources and virtual services, including virtual workshops, instruction sessions, and research consultations. We will also continue our expanded hours for our virtual reference service.

Library Access: Access to any library location will be limited to Mason students, faculty, and staff. Signage will be posted to indicate the university’s Safe Return to Campus guidelines – such as physical distancing, wearing face coverings, and other protocols – and those who do not adhere to the university policies and guidelines may be asked to leave. Our hours have been updated for the fall semester and may change if needed.

Closed Stacks: Circulation requests should be made via your library account, and the stacks will be closed for browsing. If you encounter difficulty placing your request, please email fencirc@gmu.edu. Requests for access to some collections (such as in our Special Collections Research Center) will be by appointment-only.

Study Spaces and Computers: To promote physical distancing and follow university guidelines, some tables, carrels, workstations, and chairs have been removed or marked out-of-use in each library. The number of people allowed in each library building will also be limited to allow for appropriate distancing. Some spaces and areas may also be closed. For example, group study rooms will be closed, while individual study rooms will be available for reservation.

Furniture: The furniture in each library location has been moved (or removed in some cases) and spaced to allow for appropriate distancing. Please help us all stay safe by not moving or rearranging the furniture.

Food and Drink: No food and beverages are allowed in library locations, with the exception of water in a closed container. Please help us maintain clean and safe spaces by not bringing in food or drink. Face coverings should be worn at all times, unless actively drinking.

Health & safety protocols:

Current status information:

The Libraries will follow university and state guidelines. Our FAQs will be updated as needed. Responses are based on Mason’s Safe Return plan and current information. Responses and available services are subject to change.

General information on library services:

Mason Libraries provides free 24/7 access to thousands of online resources for Mason faculty, students and staff – just use your Mason NetID and password. Visit library.gmu.edu to discover what the Libraries offer to support and enhance your learning, teaching, and research at Mason. Highlights include:

Guidelines for visiting Special Collections Research Center this fall

The Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center will be reopening on Monday, August 24 on an appointment-only basis for the Fall 2020 semester. Researchers requesting an appointment will need to know what collections they are interested in, the boxes or books they would like to use, and the estimated amount of time they will need to do their research. Currently, in-person appointments are only available to Mason students, faculty, and staff.

SCRC staff will offer virtual services and consultations to assist patrons with research, to help navigate finding aids, to discuss research projects, and to answer questions about the new policies and procedures. Virtual research consultations are available to all and may be requested by emailing speccoll@gmu.edu. SCRC will work to digitize materials if possible; however, digitization will depend on preservation issues, size of request, copyright, and staff availability.

Guidelines for in-person appointments:

  • Available for Mason students, faculty, and staff only.
  • New researchers will be required to fill out the Researcher Registration form online prior to their appointment.
  • Appointments must be made at least 72 hours in advance and are dependent on staff availability, the number of other appointments scheduled, and availability of the requested collections (as all materials will be quarantined for 72 hours after each use).
  • Visitors are required to wear masks and adhere to social distancing measures, as outlined in the university’s health and safety guidelines.

Questions? Please contact SCRC at speccoll@gmu.edu.

Note: Policies, procedures, and available services are subject to change at any point during the semester, based on university and library operations status, state guideline updates, and SCRC staff availability. Thank you for your understanding.

An Update from Records Management

As we begin a new academic year, and continue in an increased virtual environment, University Records Management (https://recordsmanagement.gmu.edu/) would like to remind the Mason community that any records created by employees are a compliance area for the university at large.

During this time where many of the ways we conduct our business have changed, we are still subject to the records regulations set forth by the Library of Virginia under the Virginia Public Records Act (VPRA) as well as other laws and agreements.

Please see the August 2020 memo regarding Records Management regulations and practices (https://recordsmanagement.gmu.edu/URMmemo_COVIDAug2020.pdf) for more information, and please contact recmgt@gmu.edu with any questions.

New Library Tool Available for Faculty to Manage Course Reading Lists

In support of Mason’s teaching and learning experience, the Libraries is adding Leganto to the Libraries’ portfolio of technology tools. Leganto, offered by Ex Libris, is a resource list management system that integrates with other Libraries systems as well as Blackboard.

The acquisition of this tool, in conjunction with the university’s expanded virtual environment, marks a strategic shift for the Libraries – moving away from the idea of a physical “course reserves” module to a university-wide reading list management system where the instructor develops a reading list within a Blackboard course, then pushes it to the Libraries for centralized processing.  

With Leganto, faculty can collect a wide range of content – from library resources to YouTube videos – in a dynamic and user-friendly add-on to their course. We anticipate it will make the work of instructional faculty much easier for reading or viewing material for their courses, as well as tracking statistics of what has been read (or marked done) by students. Leganto will enable the Libraries to become more efficient in supplying needed content to courses, and it will provide reliability and consistency for students accessing materials. 

The Libraries is preparing for a soft launch of the Leganto platform in Fall 2020, with a cohort of faculty who will receive training on using the system and who will provide feedback on its integration into their courses. If you would like to be part of this group for Fall 2020, please contact Melanie Bopp, Head of Access Services, at mbopp@gmu.edu or Janna Mattson, Online Learning Coordinator and Instructional Librarian, at jmattso1@gmu.edu.

We expect to fully implement Leganto university-wide in the Spring 2021 semester, at which time our current Course Reserves request system will be retired. We will be exploring a host of additional features to add to Leganto in the spring, such as streamlined purchase requests for faculty, and quick and easy copyright checks.