Schaffer Library to provide online access for users during Spring Term


Alex Appel

Library is physically closed for this term.

Akriti Dhasmana, co-Editor-in-Chief

On April 4, Schaffer Library announced in a campus-wide email that the library will be providing 200,000 volumes of its printed collection online. This comes after in-person classes were suspended for the spring term amid fears of the spread of COVID-19. The library has now committed to providing most of its services online for the benefit of users for the rest of the spring term. 

“As soon as we heard the college was considering online learning for the Spring Term, the library began to prepare.  Our goal is to provide students and faculty the same level of support as we typically do,” Frances Maloy, the college librarian told Concordiensis via email. Schaffer Library has been buying electronic books, journals for years and digital resources for years. Some of these resources include Engineering Case Studies Online, Human Rights Studies Online, Foreign Broadcast Information Service, Underground and Independent Comics, Comix, and Graphic Novels, and Adam Matthew Explorer’s digital primary source collections which covers broad subject areas including US and Global history, literature, culture, sociology and politics.  

“In all we [Schaffer Library] provide access to more than 1.5 million electronically available items,” Maloy said. According to the campus-wide email, this has been made possible through HathiTrust Digital Library, specifically HathiTrust’s Emergency Temporary Access Service (ETAS) which provides partner libraries digital access to their copyright-protected print collections through the fair use doctrine when physical access is restricted. Schaffer Library joined the HathiTrust in 2017. According to Maloy, HathiTrust was started by large research libraries that contracted with Google to digitize their library collections to create Google Books. More libraries contributed their digitized books and since then database has grown from 2 million books in 2008 to almost 8 million books in 2020. 

Other resources offered by the library include access to hundreds of online primary source databases that provide first or direct evidence about objects, people, events, or works of art. Union College’s Special Collections and Art Collections are also available online. The popular Bloomberg Terminal is now available for use remotely too and instructions to access the same can be found here.

“We are hearing that some international students can’t get deliveries from the US.  We are planning on digitizing and mailing books on a case by case basis,” Maloy said.  “We are finding some books that are assigned by professors in the HathiTrust and in the National Emergency Library as well as available for purchase on Amazon and we are encouraging students to avail themselves of these sources. Publishers are opening up their collections for free as well (add link to JSTOR and MUSE) during the pandemic.”

The library has also been digitizing their own collections including student honors thesis, special collections and archives, yearbooks, and have 100 years of the Concordensis available in our institutional repository called Digital Works. At this time, all the updates to their services can be found on the Schaffer Library website .

“We didn’t have a lot of time to prepare, and because New York State has so many cases of COVID-19, our plans changed on an almost daily basis.  I am very proud of my staff and their ability to make quick adjustments,” Maloy said.