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Update on “Wasp Infestation Closes Library”

By Jada Butler
News Editor

Although the original notification informed students that the library would reopen at noon on Friday, Oct. 20, students did not receive a notice that the library had reopened until 2:13 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 20. The notice sent by Public Safety via the LIU Alert email system, stated that the library had reopened, thanked the community for its patience, and informed students and faculty that the library had resumed normal operating hours.

During this three and a half day library closure, students had to find other places to study, have internet access, and print out work. They were unable to take out books or use the library’s reference services, other than by email. Dean of Students, Michael Berthel informed students by email that the library maintained virtual reference services to answer reference, catalog, and database questions via

“The library faculty did a great job maintaining the online chat reference and email reference services,” Thomas Walker, associate dean of the college of education, information, and technology, and director of the Palmer school of library and information science, said.

The library staff responded to 20 chat reference questions and eight e-mail questions from students during the closure, according to Louis Pisha, head of reference, and Elizabeth Mezick, a library faculty member.

Hillwood Commons served as a makeshift study zone, with several rooms reserved for “quiet study” and the Career Bar reserved as a computer lab and printing source.

In the small alternative spaces provided, some students found it difficult to efficiently complete their work, and computer and printer access was not always available. “Everything was full,” Anthony Cavarretta, a freshman broadcasting major, said. “I had to do a project and I couldn’t, so we were pushed back.”

“It was frustrating that the clubs that had reserved rooms prior to the library closing had to relocate to other buildings for their meetings,” Alexa Kaplan, junior business marketing major, and social media manager and secretary of Hillel, said.

The library staff was satisfied with the alternatives provided, though. “We worked around the disruption quite well,” Walker said.

“Library faculty continued to do research or to work on tasks that could be completed outside the building – thanks to the internet.”

Students received no further notifications regarding the measures taken to remove the bees. Then the following week, on Wednesday, Oct. 25 at 9 p.m., the library was closed again for the rest of the night. Michael Berthel, dean of students, claimed in an email sent to the Pioneer, that this was done out of an abundance of caution after Public Safety received a report of a bee sting.

Facilities services and two exterminating companies responded to the report. They conducted full inspections of the building and found no issues, according to Berthel. “Additional precautionary measures were put in place to ensure the continued safety of the community,” Berthel said.

Director of Public Safety Michael Fevola called the bee issue an “ongoing collaborative effort between public safety, facilities, and campus life,” yet did not respond to inquiries of the additional precautions.

Roy Fergus, head of facilities services, did not respond to the Pioneer’s inquiries about the most recent closure. The library resumed normal operating hours Thursday, Oct. 26.

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