The J.D Williams Library In the Midst of COVID-19
Multimedia package produced by Landon P. Prestwood
As the Fall 2020 semester comes to a close, colleges and universities nationwide continue their battles against COVID-19, as upcoming winter months are expected to worsen the spread.
School libraries that once acted as a safe haven for students, sit nearly empty as students from around the country pack-up and head home for an extra long holiday break.
Though usually filled with the sound of whispering and the smell of fresh coffee grounds, the JD Williams Library at the University of Mississippi now sits even quieter than usual as students (and the rest of the world) wait for a return to normalcy.
“The library, for me at least, was somewhere that me and my colleagues could go to get things done, grab a coffee, catch up on small talk, and to be productive,” Jeffery Van Deven, an international studies student at the University of Mississippi, said.
“It’s still open, but it’s definitely been empty throughout most of the semester,” Van Deven said.
Perhaps the staple of the JD Williams library, the Starbucks Cafe, has also seen a drastic decrease in student traffic.
“We’ve even adjusted our store hours of operation because of a lesser amount of students” Jasmine Wallace, a full-time employee at the cafe, said.
“We’ve seen more students recently just because of finals week and classes ending for the semester, but overall, the line that usually wraps around the library is something we haven’t seen at all this semester.” Wallace Said. “Students are just studying at home, or at other places.”
In addition to enforcing social distancing guidelines at JD Williams, the University has hired new sets of staff in order to enforce mask wearing while studying at the library.
Jerry Hale, a newly hired security guard at JD Williams is tasked with enforcing mask wearing at all times while students occupy the library.
“Most all students wear their masks, and we usually have no issues- because there aren’t many students that come in. Some people may come pick up a book, or other materials that they ordered online, but we rarely ever have a full library” Hale said.
With all universities preparing for another abnormal semester in the spring, COVID cases in nearly every state are on the rise. However, at no surprise are students and parents alike hoping for a spring semester that resembles a light at the end of the tunnel, from what was a very unusual fall semester.