Director’s Reflections…A Blizzard of Online Services

barbara-2009-altered_35At the beginning of February, Pittsburgh was subjected to an exceedingly large snowfall.  As a result, the University and its libraries were forced to close for three workdays as workers struggled to clear the streets and sidewalks.

Had such an event occurred before the advent of easy access to electronic resources, our users would not have been able to consult the library’s books and journals for questions related to patient care and research.  But during this unprecedented library closing, library employees were able to maintain services, answer questions and provide access from home.

Users logged onto our Web site to consult databases, e-books and e-journals.  Questions were submitted through our Ask-A-Librarian button, and librarians conducted mediated searches and provided reference assistance.  Document delivery services for urgent patient-related questions also continued without disruption.  Computer services staff kept the Web site updated about our hours and services.

And what was one of the most common questions submitted to Ask-A-Librarian?  Our conscientious users were worried about penalties for late return of borrowed books!  I’m pleased to report borrowing periods were extended for books due while we were closed.

On February 2 this year, our neighbor Punxatawney Phil predicted that winter would last six more weeks.  In the meantime, you can rest assured that access to HSLS resources and services will help you make it through to springtime!