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ATU Library Ensures Continued Access to Information

Brent Etzel Interview June 2020

Ensuring every student has access to information...it's the right thing to do. That's why Ross Pendergraft Library and Technology Center has remained open throughout the pandemic. Brent Etzel, ATU library director, joins us to talk about summer hours and much more. Read the accompanying article: https://bit.ly/30I8h2u

Posted by Arkansas Tech University on Monday, June 15, 2020

A determination to serve students, faculty and staff in the face of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic kept the library at Arkansas Tech University open through the completion of the spring 2020 semester.

Now, Ross Pendergraft Library and Technology Center is operating under summer hours and continuing to facilitate learning.

"We did some research in early April, and we found there were only two other public universities in the state that kept their libraries open," said Brent Etzel, library director at ATU. "The Ross Pendergraft Library is seen as a symbol of the university, and it was a point of pride that we remain open as if to say 'ATU is still here, and we're still thriving.' I think there was a great sense of pride from the custodial staff, from (the ATU) Office of Information Systems (OIS) and from the library staff to keep things going."

The collective efforts of the ATU community helped more than 2,000 undergraduate students on the Russellville campus qualify for the Dean's List in spring 2020. Serving students from every walk of life was emphasized through the availability of resources.

"We had different demographics of students who really needed our resources," said Etzel. "We had international students who had nowhere to go, so they were on campus and we were providing the computer support and research resources they needed. We have a number of students who live in rural communities who may not have reliable internet access, so we continued to be open for them as well."

For the first summer 2020 term, Ross Pendergraft Library and Technology Center is open 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 8 a.m.-noon Fridays and 1-6 p.m. Sundays. These hours will remain in effect through July 1. The library is also scheduled to be open for the second summer 2020 term, which begins July 6.

"It's because of the work of custodial services and support from OIS that we've been able to continue providing our services," said Etzel. "We have hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and our custodial services have really been on top of keeping the desks, doors and anything that anyone is touching clean."

Etzel indicated that several database providers have increased access to information as result of the pandemic.

"Since March, we have had access to more and more resources that we've ever had before," said Etzel. "I was encouraging people at the end of the spring semester that this is the best time to do research."

Learn more about Ross Pendergraft Library and Technology Center and its services at library.atu.edu.