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Updates to Library and Archives Services

Last Updated: 02/25/2022

What’s changed as a result of the continued closure of the Perelman Building?

  • No general building access for public researchers: Staff are still providing remote reference services while the Perelman Building and our reading rooms are closed to walk-ins until further notice. We’ll do our best to fulfill your requests in a timely manner, but please let us know if you’re on a deadline. We arrange onsite appointments on a case-by-case basis.
  • Library circulation policy: Staff may now take most books home with them. Here’s what you need to know.  
  • Contactless Pick Up and Return: Pick up and return books with minimal contact. We’ve set up book carts in the lower level of the Perelman Building (around the corner to the left when you get off the elevator) for pickup and return, You can also request to have books interoffice mailed to you. See our FAQs for more detailed information.
  • No reading room research: The Library’s reading rooms and study carrels are closed for research until further notice. Staff can use the Bookeye scanner, and we continue to provide resources online. The reference desk will not be staffed. Questions? Contact library@philamuseum.org
  • Bookeye scanner: While there have been no reported cases of surface transmissions of Covid-19 in GLAM institutions, please continue to do your part to keep the Bookeye scanner clean. Wash or sanitize your hands and let them dry before use.
  • Archives and Special Collections: The Arcadia Special Collections Reading Room is open for onsite appointments on a case-by-case basis. We are also providing remote services. Questions? Contact archives@philamuseum.org.
  • The Martha and I. Wistar Morris Scholars Study: Carrels in this shared space remain closed until further notice. Staff can retrieve and return materials that are currently kept in the Scholars Study. Questions? Contact library@philamuseum.org
  • Interlibrary requests: We have resumed daily interlibrary loan operations. For information and instructions, check out our ILL page or contact ill@philamuseum.org.
  • Reference Materials and Periodicals: Our Reference and Periodicals sections are not open for browsing, but these materials are findable in our online catalog. Please feel free to request reference materials as you would circulating books—they will be available for pick up in the lower level of Perelman along with other requested books. Please email library@philamuseum.org if you wish to see a current periodical.
  • New acquisitions and purchase requests: You can request the purchase of electronic materials to support research; however, we have temporarily stopped donations of unsolicited materials and will rarely make new print acquisitions. We realize that this is a major disruption in library services, but please continue to send suggestions to library@philamuseum.org and we will do our best to fulfill your requests.

What hasn’t changed?

Updated Circulation Policies During the Perelman Building Closure

Last Updated: 02/25/2022

New Library Circulation Policy

  • During the pandemic, staff may now take home most library books. Some books may be restricted to use within the Perelman building or supervised use depending on their size, condition, format, and/or uniqueness. The level of access will be decided on a case by case basis. Questions? Email library@philamuseum.org
  • Moving forward, unless specifically designated otherwise by the lending library, all interlibrary loan books may leave the building. Please note that ILL items have shorter loan periods than PMA materials.

Guidelines

  • Transport all books with care. Art books are heavy, fragile, and the coated paper is very sensitive to moisture.
  • There have been no documented cases of surface transmission of Covid-19 from library materials. To prevent damage to our collections, please do not use disinfectant sprays, wipes, or UV light on library books.
  • Many of us are working on kitchen and dining room tables. Please keep library books away from food, drink, pets, and other hazards.
  • Take a reasonable number of books home with you. Better to be pragmatic rather than aspirational.
  • All of us discover books in our home libraries that we have not seen in years. When that moment arrives, please don’t let it be a library book.
  • Please do not pass along books that are checked out to you to your family, friends, or colleagues. Once the book changes hands the likelihood of retrieval and return diminishes.
  • If you find yourself in need of a book that is checked out to another colleague, please let us know, and we will facilitate a recall or acquire an interlibrary loan copy on your behalf.

If you have any questions please send them to library@philamuseum.org 

Access to Non-Circulating Book Policies During the Perelman Building Closure

Last Updated: 02/25/2022

Our new take-home circulation policies do not apply to our non-circulating collections. These include but are not limited to items from our Rare stacks, damaged or fragile books, kits and portfolios, or mixed media materials.

With our Reading Room closed, you may now review most non-circulating materials in your personal workspace in Perelman or Main. Some items may be restricted to supervised use. Request what you need online, and we’ll contact you to schedule a socially-distanced hand-off. Returns must be made the same day, while the Library is still staffed. Just let us know when you’re dropping off your book. If you need more time, we’ll make arrangements with you for a future date.

 

Questions? Contact alexa.vallejo@philamuseum.org.

FAQs on Resuming Library Services

Last Updated: 02/25/2022

These FAQs will be updated as plans are developed and implemented. Responses are based on current information and can change.

 

1. When and how will onsite library services be restarted?

We now offer paging and interlibrary loan services on a daily basis.

With our Reading Room still closed, we'll continue to use the carts near the Media Room in the Lower Level of the Perelman building for pickups and returns. You may also send books back via interoffice mail in a sealed, clearly marked box, mailer, or envelope.

2. What precautions are you taking to protect library users and staff and minimize risk of infection?

The safety of library staff and patrons is our highest priority. Library and Archives staff will follow all state and museum public health guidelines, including vaccination, social distancing, wearing masks, frequent hand washing, and self-monitoring for symptoms. 

3. When I pick up my book, should I clean or disinfect it?

No! Please don’t clean or disinfect library materials. Extensive research throughout the pandemic has found no reported cases of surface transmission of Covid-19 through library materials.

4. What will be the average wait times between requesting a book and receiving it?

Paging for library materials will be completed twice per day: once before 11 A.M., and again before 3 P.M. Books will be available on pickup carts near the Media Room on the Lower Level of the Perelman Building. You can also request that your items be sent to you via interoffice mail. Please note where we should send the materials when you make your request in the online catalog. 

Interlibrary loan fulfillment times vary depending on the lending library. Typically, books arrive between 2 and 10 days. Article and chapter scans might be completed within a few hours or in up to five days. 

Please note that the museum is only providing mail service to the Perelman Building on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, which may add to the wait time for print materials.

5. When will I be able to use the reading room again?

Our reading rooms are closed until further notice. However, you may use the Bookeye scanner in the main reading room. 

Do not browse or pull items from the Reference or Serials stacks. These materials are findable in our online catalog, so please request reference materials as you would circulating books. They will be available for pick up in the lower level of Perelman along with other requested materials.

6. I’m interested in using rare books or archival materials. When can I set up a research appointment with the Archives?

We will make special arrangements with PMA staff to access rare Library books. More information can be found here. Please note that we reserve the right to limit access to any item in our circulating collection depending on its size, condition, format, or uniqueness.

Please request archival materials via archives@philamuseum.org and we will do our best to help you. In-person research with this material is unavailable for the foreseeable future.

7. Can you buy a book at my request?

Please send any purchase requests to library@philamuseum.org. However, due to budgetary constraints we have temporarily stopped new acquisitions of most materials, including print books.

8. I work in the Main Building. Do I need to go into Perelman to retrieve books?

When you request a book in the online catalog, please also note in any blank field “interoffice mail” and the department where we should send the book(s). If there is any issue with this, we will make alternative arrangements with you.