Library working policy for AY 2021/22

Panitza Library Working Policy for AY 2021/22 

AUBG will continue to operate in a way that minimizes the risk of transmitting COVID-19 virus across the campus. Official University policies concerning the various measures have been approved and posted on the AUBG website. The AUBG President can extend these policies.

Purpose of the temporary policy

The following Library policy reflects the new institutional pandemic regulations and procedures, as well as steps on the endorsed recommendations for pandemic prevention and preparedness by the American Library Association (ALA), the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), and the Bulgarian Library and Information Association (BLIA).

Aspects such as terms of access and operational policies, staff and patrons’ safety, social distancing and sanitation of the collections are considered in the new temporary policy.                                       

Purpose of the temporary policy

  • Prevent spreading the pandemic disease and protect patrons and staff.
  • Align with the current University policies and coordinate efforts with AUBG administration and health authorities.
  • Sustain essential library services to support continuation of the educational process.
  • Protect library materials, facilities, and equipment.
  • Ensure complete return to normal library operation as quickly as possible after the pandemic situation.

Updates of the policy

Any changes to this policy will be made based on new developments of the pandemic situation. The Library Director will monitor and assess the situation carefully and evaluate the library response and the temporary policy.

Spring  semester operations organization

Panitza Library’s aim is to continue services as normally as possible while minimizing the risk of exposure and protecting staff and patrons.

Prioritization of services. In case reduced staffing, hours, or services are necessary, librarians shall perform their responsibilities that most directly affect patrons prior to any other tasks, subject to the safety of patrons and staff.

Hours of operation 

The semester will start with normal working hours for this active academic period. Panitza Library may temporary close, reduce its operating hours, or limit services in case there is insufficient staff to maintain basic service levels. The Library Director and the Dean of Faculty/Provost will determine any changes in library hours, in accordance with the evolving pandemic situation.

Circulation and access
  • Loans. Circulation of materials will be available as per the official Library policy  In case of lockdown, loan periods will be automatically extended and patrons notified.
  • Fines. All fines will be applied as per the official Library policy. In case of lockdown, loan periods will be automatically adjusted avoiding fines for patrons. Fines incurred during that time will be waived. Lost and damaged item fines will still apply.
  • Returns. Quarantine procedures will be applied to all returning physical materials for 7 days. Patrons can return materials by sending them to the Library by registered mail or bringing them in person.
  • Requests. Patrons can place requests as normal; however, please keep in mind the quarantine of 7 days before picking up your requested books.
  • Printing and scanning. The facilities will stay open for use. Maximum of 2 people at the same time may use the equipment. Only short-time stay is allowed (no studying in the room). Additional hygiene procedures will be applied after each use.
  • Group-study rooms. They will not be available for use this semester due to social distancing regulations and health and safety precautions. The rooms are too small considering that the recommended allowed space is 10 sq. m. per person.
  • Remote access to e-resources. Panitza Library provides access to a vast collection of academic e-resources (e-books, e-journals, reference sources, etc.), available for off-campus use anytime, anywhere. In case you need further assistance from a librarian, please use the library chat available daily or email us                                                                                                                       

We can support e-reserves. We do not recommend that faculty have physical reserves this semester in order to assure the appropriate health and safety measures for the use of the materials. Upon returning, library materials will be placed under 7-day quarantine, thus making it impossible to re-use right away.

Should you need anything from the Reserves section, the library staff can take requests for scanning chapters in alignment with Fair Use* to ensure that education and research remain continuous. Please let us know and we can scan and send you the requested chapters/articles. Keep in mind that we will not be able to scan the entire book.

*Fair Use & Emergency Remote Teaching & Research: "While legal obligations do not automatically dissolve in the face of a public health crisis, U.S. copyright law is, thankfully, well equipped to provide the flexibility necessary for the vast majority of remote learning needed at this time... For copies made to support rapid adoption of remote teaching, users should be thoughtful about this factor [amount & substantiality], but not agonize over it: a use can be fair as long as it reproduces what is reasonable to serve the purpose... Campuses should restrict access to course materials only to students, instructors, or teaching assistants enrolled in the course. Further, they should provide content only for the period of time needed, and excerpt materials when pedagogically appropriate." - excerpts from Public Statement of Library Copyright Specialists: Fair Use & Emergency Remote Teaching & Research

Important for Faculty

Please consider the following if you are sharing locally digital copies on your class Canvas space:

  • All copies should be restricted to course participants only, and uploading them to the Canvas specific space fulfills this requirement. Deletion at the end of the semester is a must.
  • Please do not copy entire texts; limit copies to what is absolutely necessary to complete your pedagogical purpose. If you need the entire book for example for the purposes of the lectures, finals, state exams, fair use could apply during this time, but you must weigh the four factors of fair use and assess the risk. The fair use analysis for amount, for example, is to use as much as necessary to serve your purpose.
  • If possible, make the PDF copies read-only and /or prohibit the download options, so that that the student is not able to download, forward, or print the image.
  • In case you do not feel comfortable relying on Fair Use statements and practices, we suggest choosing an alternative content – Open Educational resources.
  • Please keep in mind that copies of materials (like downloaded/uploaded files, scanned physical documents) can present some copyright issues, but they are not different from deciding whether to share certain content when you are meeting with your class in person.

Interlibrary loans. All requests will be processed as normal, however we may not be able to receive/loan physical resources due to other libraries safety measures. Document delivery service of e-resources or scanned chapters is available and you can submit your requests to

Reference Service. It is available upon request on a daily basis via email. Please contact a librarian at to ask for an assistance, and/or schedule a virtual session (Zoom with a librarian). Daily chat is also available on the library webpage. 

Information Literacy instruction. Our information literacy librarian will conduct regular tailored sessions, requested in advance. Please contact Krasimir Spasov to discuss possibilities for a session/training and the preferred format (online/in class).

Acquisitions. Purchase of materials will continue as normal. You are welcome to submit your recommendations to Maria Mehandjiiska, allowing more time for the delivery of physical resources. Acquisitions of e-copies of books will also be supported.

Serials/databases/digital collections. E-resources collections are a vital part in the new pandemic normal. They are regularly monitored and access maintained. Print journals and magazines are available for check out; quarantine procedures applied for 7 days after each use. In case of queries, please submit them to Gergana Atanasova.

Special events. Panitza Library can host events or group gatherings only if official AUBG protocols have been followed, limiting the number of gathered people in enclosed spaces.

External visitors

The Library will not accept non-AUBG readers for the semester. Only scheduled in advance visits of official guests of the university will be permitted. Health and safety regulations are applied to all visits.

We encourage you to contact us, should you have any questions or need urgent help. One on one Zoom, MS teams meetings can be arranged when needed.


Panitza Library will keep regular communication with the all constituencies. New updates will be published on the online channels of the library. The announcements will clearly state any changes in the library operations, concerning the AUBG patrons. In case of physical closure:

  • The librarians will work together to post updates, links, and other useful information in a prominent area on the Library’s website and the Facebook page.
  • Emphasis on emails, library’s messenger, Zoom with a librarian sessions, and virtual reference chat (available daily for the active academic periods), which will be the main communication channels between the library and the patrons.
  • Feedback on identifying new and urgent needs is welcome.


  • Library staff will follow the University’s regulations for work and safety, sick leave, and paid/unpaid leave policy. Clear communication with the administration with regards to employee absences, working from home memorandums, payroll, etc.
  • Staff emergency contact information is updated.
  • Staff may be re-assigned to a different area than usual, depending on available personnel. Clear communication among staff members concerning tasks and duties distribution is in place. Schedules of shifts are being prepared.
  • Schedule different physical shifts for librarians in order to minimize the risk. A consideration of lions/eagles distribution of staff is likely to be introduced in order to keep the library services operation at all times in the event of diagnosed staff member.   Library staff can also work from home where doing so does not affect their regular duties.
  • Cross training in ongoing, so others can take over for sick employees and assure urgent duties continuation.
  • Special working arrangements will be made for staff at elevated risk (working from home).
  • Employee absences are possible due to personal or family illness, official AUBG containment measures and quarantines; therefore such employees will be using accumulated annual vacation, unpaid leave or sick leave depending on the situation. Staff might be instructed to stay at home and work entirely online following schedules if an outbreak emerges.

Limiting opportunities for exposure

  • Get vaccinated.
  •  It is very important to limit the opportunities for exposure to COVID-19. If any employee feels ill, and especially if they are experiencing respiratory issues, the employee should stay home and call their doctor immediately. Inform the library director after.
  • Travel between home and the library safely, avoiding people.
  • Any employee who knows they have been in contact with someone officially diagnosed with COVID-19 must inform their doctor and seek advice from the library director and Dr. Daskalov immediately. AUBG recommends that that person have themselves tested for COVID-19 and return to work after a negative test clearance. The results of the test must be presented to the Health Center.
  • If confirmed case of COVID-19 occurs within AUBG, an administrative guidance will be followed (a pro-active procedure is in place, including disinfection of the working spaces, testing of contact persons and self-isolation).
  • Library staff will use gloves and masks when receiving courier materials. Post deliveries are scheduled for Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. Follow the AUBG Mail Policies for AY 21/22.
Health and safety measures

Safety and protection of library staff

  • Staff are required to check their temperature when they enter the BAC building. Staff with an elevated temperature must report to the Health Center and are not permitted to continue with their duties until the Health Center has cleared them.
  • Staff are required to sanitize their hands after checking their temperature at the BAC entrance.
  • Staff must cover their noses and mouths in public areas throughout the AUBG building using face masks.
  • Avoid gathering of many people at the same perimeter, enforce 2 m distance between each other.
  • Transparent plexiglas shields are being installed on the Circulation and Reference desks to restrict direct exposure between patrons and librarians.
  • Library staff must wear gloves while working on the desk, as well as when cleaning and receiving materials. Personal masks are also provided to each staff member, along with the training of staff in their removal and disposal.
  • Staff must wash hands after using restrooms and avoid touching their face.
  • Avoid coughing and sneezing when using books, other documents and computers.
  • Disinfectant is available on the Ground floor for everyone to use, and a bottle is provided to each office.
  • Keep the windows open when possible to allow fresh circulation of air.                                                                                                

Safety and protection of patrons

  • Patrons are required to check their temperature when they enter the BAC building. Patrons with an elevated temperature must report to the Health Center and are not permitted to enter.
  • Patrons are required to sanitize their hands after checking their temperature at the BAC entrance.
  • Patrons must cover their nose and mouth in the public areas of all AUBG buildings, including the Library. Face masks should cover their nose and mouth.
  • Avoid gathering of many people at the same perimeter, enforce 2 m distance between each other. Group-study rooms will not operate.
  • Any physical contact with patrons/staff, including hand shaking and hugging, is prohibited.
  • Reading areas have been re-arranged to apply the 2 m distance rule between the sitting desks, soft chairs, carrels. The total seated study places have been reduced from 210 to 87 chairs and 34 soft chairs.
  • Patrons must wash hands after using restrooms and avoid touching their face.
  • Patrons must avoid coughing and sneezing when using books, other documents and computers.
  • Disinfectant is available on the all floors for everyone to use.              

Hygiene of library facilities

  • A set standard with the cleaning facilities for the cleaning of the Circulation desk surface, the library equipment, door handles, bathrooms, elevators, railings, telephones, keyboards, counters, at least 3 times a day, and cleaning of workstations/offices, emptying of wastebaskets once a day. 
  • Tables, computer desks and surfaces for students’ use must be cleaned often, preferably after each use.
  • Leave doors between the floors open. Doors that cannot be propped open for hands-free movement will be cleaned more often with disinfectant.
  • Disinfectant is available on the all floors for everyone to use, and a bottle is provided to each office.
  • Information posters of safety measures are being placed at visible places in the library.

Keep the windows open in the reading areas when possible to allow fresh air.                                                                                          

Hygiene of library documents 

  • Quarantine for 7 days the books and other resources, as the safest and most efficient way of disinfection after being used/returned by a patron. We stay abreast with the REALM Project recommendations for safe re-opening and operations.
  • During the quarantine period, the documents should be placed on a separate shelf in 011 Storage room and marked with a date of return.
  • New documents in the library through purchase, donation, deposit, as well as the documents received through interlibrary loan, should be treated in the same way.
  • Library staff must wear gloves and masks when entering 011 Storage room.

Library closure. Panitza Library may temporarily close physically completely for patrons in the fall semester because of a pandemic outbreak or library health emergency. An officially approved university order must be issued in that case. In the event of closure, due dates and pickup dates for library materials will be adjusted, so that no overdue fines are assessed and holds do not expire while the building is being closed.

Recovery after a full lockdown. Full library services will be restored after complete closure as pandemic conditions permit. Staffing needs will be evaluated regularly; full staffing will be instituted depending on staff health and building conditions.

Updated: January 11, 2022

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