Update from the Library: We’re Still Here to Serve You!

Article written by Barbara Epstein, Director
Barbara Epstein
HSLS Director

Now that we’ve been a totally online library for more than six weeks, you may be interested in how we’ve been working in these strange new circumstances.

Our transition has gone very well, with a few “essential personnel” continuing to work onsite to make sure that everyone has the technology that they need, and to troubleshoot problems with servers and software (thankfully very few). Construction in Scaife Hall has stopped, so our space is eerily quiet.

Librarians and staff working from home have been very busy: between March 23 and April 24, we offered more than 27 virtual workshops and class presentations to nearly 500 attendees with 52 virtual workshops scheduled for the next 3 months. Some instructors have noted that their “students” have included department chairs and senior investigators, who usually aren’t able to attend in person. Librarians have also been very busy with systematic reviews and consultations; we’ve provided support to 711 requestors, and responded to 70 phone and e-mail inquiries.

Our Document Delivery staff have delivered 818 journal articles to the Pitt community and UPMC residents, and supplied 1,902 articles to libraries around the country through interlibrary loan networks. We’ve also requested 110 articles from other libraries for items in remote storage that we couldn’t retrieve.

Staff in our Digital Library Services area is moving forward with implementation planning for our new management system, scheduled to go live in mid-summer. This involves data migration, acquisitions, staff training, user authentication, and the myriad other facets of such a large project. Library users will find it easier to search PITTCat and access Pitt’s extensive library collections.

HSLS specialists in technology and knowledge integration services, metadata, and access are making sure that our website is up and running, our resources are accessible, and we’re communicating with our users through e-mail and social media.

Our programs funded by the National Library of Medicine (the Middle Atlantic Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM), the NNLM Web Services Office, and the All of Us Training & Education Center) are already accustomed to working remotely, and have been operating full-speed ahead with classes, webinars, and support for our four-state region and the entire national network.

But even as we’ve adjusted to working from home, we’re looking forward to being back in our familiar surroundings in Falk Library, and planning for construction of our modern new library when the Scaife Hall renovation resumes.