The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Dean of Libraries' Message to Parents

The opening of the academic year brings a mix of anticipation and anxiety for parents and students. Ordinarily, anticipation far outweighs anxiety, with students eager to return to campus and resume studies. This year has been anything from ordinary, and the effects of the pandemic on all aspects of life, work, and education have been inescapable. 

The UMass Amherst Libraries have been able to quickly shift focus to supporting students and faculty at a distance because we’ve long been leaders in the adoption and promotion of digital resources for teaching, learning, and research. Not only are the Libraries the most visited place on campus, library.umass.edu is also the most visited UMass website. In person and online, Library staff pair deep knowledge of academic subject areas with a keen awareness of forward-thinking library initiatives, including digital scholarship and publishing, the creation of digital media, including 3D printed materials, and open educational resources. A growing number of faculty are working with the library to integrate open education content as an alternative to expensive textbooks, lowering the amount a student must spend on materials.

The Libraries can help your student with what they need to be successful, regardless of their physical location.
For example, we provide:

  • Access to the Libraries’ extensive collection of online resources, including journals, e-books and streaming media
  • Online course reserves
  • Online consultations and contactless pick-up of 3D printed objects from the Digital Media Lab
  • Online access to librarians for student research questions via our chat services, as well as through email
  • Contactless pick-up for library materials (for students located in the Amherst area)

In addition, librarians are also teaching in online classes and helping students identify materials for their classes, as well as introducing students to the vast collection of digitized materials through our Special Collections and University Archives. 

I hope this information helps alleviate some of the worries you and your family may feel about the challenges you are facing this semester, and demonstrates our commitment to you, even from a distance. We look forward to the day when we’ll once again see the Libraries filled with students. Until then, please be safe and well, and know that the Libraries are available to help.

Sincerely,

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Simon Neame
Dean of Libraries

There is no better time than now to support the UMass Amherst Libraries.  

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