EAU CLAIRE (WQOW) - Fall break has come and passed for UW-Eau Claire students, and starting Monday, the push towards finals begins. Students often spend time in the library to prepare, but since COVID-19 has pushed classes back online, many have to prepare for them differently.
The library has made several safety adjustments, including limiting hours, closing widely popular study rooms and computer labs, and cancelling stress relief events like therapy dog petting sessions.
Library directors say the library's limited services make it feel like how a library felt 40 years ago.
"We've done a lot in recent decades to create a building and a service that brings people together and that's very social," said Jill Markgraf, director of McIntyre Library at UW-Eau Claire. "It feels like everything we have to do right now is in direct conflict with what we believe is important to be doing in a library."
Students can still find that peace and quiet at the library. The university says only 56% of students living on campus have returned to residence halls after Thanksgiving, and while less students are utilizing the space, the university continues to provide resources to those who need it.
"We are an essential service at a university," Markgraf said. "Not all of our students are going home, some are staying on campus, and they need a place that is conducive to studying."
For students who are away from campus, McIntyre Library is offering virtual appointments with librarians to help with studying and research, and e-books from the library's collection are also available.
University housing says about 96% of students are planning to return to campus for the spring semester.