PSC Library Welcome, Safety, and Security Update

To: Paul Smith’s College community

Welcome back to Spring 2021! We are excited you are here and we are working hard to make the library a safe and wonderful place for you to continue to spend time.

The library building is open to the PSC community beginning on January 26 for adjusted hours. The adjusted hours are as follow:

  • Monday-Thursday: 7:30 AM – 8 PM
  • Friday: 7:30 AM – 5 PM
  • Please make sure to review all of the below policies before joining us in the library.

    What are the expectations of all library users to encourage community health and safety?

    • Patrons are required to wear a mask in the building, even when social distancing.
    • Food is no longer permitted in the library, only beverages.
    • Book stacks are closed to all patrons. Library staff will retrieve items for you. We can do this through in-person, phone, or online request.
    • Please follow the one-way directional arrows to the best of your ability.
    • Sanitize your workstation with the provided multi-purpose cleaner and your hands with the provided hand sanitizer and use workstation paper, similar to classrooms.
    • Help support “At-Risk Hours:” Saturday (1:00-2:00 pm) and Sunday (2:00-3:00 pm). We ask you to help us provide a safe hour each weekend day for our community members most at-risk, by requesting that those who do not feel they, or someone they care for, are in an especially vulnerable population to wait 1 hour to arrive on those days.

    What services is the library providing this semester?

    • Space to study, print, and complete work on library computers.
    • Virtual reference sessions and research help, bookable via Starfish (must be logged in) here. These can be for any help you might need in terms of finding materials and information, evaluating sources, and proper citations. Please use them! We want to help you!
    • Screencast tutorials available on this page and in Canvas here.
    • ‘Request a Book’ service for pick up at the desk or ‘to-go’ from our contactless book cart. Read all about requesting books, same-day pickup and your preferred pickup method here. All print materials will be quarantined for 4 days before returning to the book stacks.
    • Help loaning academic and popular fiction eBooks and accessing digital journals/articles.
    • Interlibrary Loan to access digital materials our library does not own. You can put in a request here.
    • Laptops and other electronic items will be available for checkout. *Updated loan period*–most laptops will be available for one-week checkouts. Other electronic items will be available for their normal loan period. All electronics will be sanitized when returned, please be patient as we quarantine and sanitize returns, our turn-around rate may be a bit slower than usual.

    What services can the library no longer provide?

    • Physical course reserves at the front desk
    • Newspapers can no longer be shared amongst multiple patrons. If needed, please reach out to the library and we will help you access the materials you need. Many periodicals can be accessed online via the library website.
    • Open browsing of the book stacks. See the ‘Request a Book’ options to place and pick up book requests at the front desk or contactless in the lobby for all patrons, or delivered to an office, for faculty.
    • Large group study space is limited. There is lower capacity in study rooms to accommodate social distancing. Patrons must also sign a patron log upon entry and exit of study rooms found on the door of each room.
    • The 2nd floor study rooms will not be open during daytime hours. They will be reserved for tutoring session space through Academic Services. If rooms are not booked during the day, requests for use can be directed to Tracy Elliot (
    • First floor study rooms remain first come, first serve during all open library hours, except room L109 which will not be available this semester.

    Stay safe and well, we wish you all a successful Spring semester.

    -PSC Librarians

General Guidelines
  • Don’t personalize the situation: take a breath and look at the situation as objectively as possible.
  • Identify the specific behavior of concern.
  • Avoid creating an adversarial relationship where there is no room for movement.
  • Recognize that many individuals are dealing with extreme stress due to the personal impacts of COVID-19, economic loss, and social injustice. Expressions of anger or belligerence may be a manifestation of underlying stress.
  • Look for the educational opportunity. An educational conversation from a college official can have a lasting impact on a student. Look for the opportunity to dialogue about the situation.
  • Maintain professional communication.
  • Address inappropriate, disruptive, or concerning behavior from the beginning. If you have a concern, do not wait to see if it happens again.
  • Maintain records of interactions with difficult students. 
Dealing with General Disrespect
  • If the student is belligerent or blatantly threatening, call Campus Safety at 518-327-6300. Follow this with a call to 911 if the situation is an emergency.
  • If there is no blatant threat, calmly remind yourself first that not all individuals will perceive crass or vulgar language to be inappropriate.
  • Take a breath (literally). Don’t escalate with the comments or take them personally. This is difficult, but the comments are meant to provoke. Handling them calmly may defuse the situation and demonstrate that this is not an effective means to get what is desired.
  • This is a teachable moment; take advantage of it. Most individuals will calm down enough to have a conversation if you start with statements meant to de-escalate their frustration.
    • Try a non-threatening, non-escalating “I” statement (see examples below). Repeat this calmly if needed.
    • An alternative would be: “I find your statements/email, etc., to be vulgar/inappropriate/disrespectful and others may, too. An alternative way to effectively communicate your point would be ….”.

Use “I” statements to focus the communication on your own feelings or beliefs, rather than thoughts and characteristics that you attribute to the other person. For example:

  • I am happy to talk with you about this matter; however (see “a” and “b,” below).
  • I know this situation can be frustrating; however (see “a” and “b,” below).
  • I want to work with you. We need to take a step back for a minute so we can look at this situation together.

Repeat the statement calmly two times. The third time, add, “I am going to end this conversation. I do not….. (see “a” and “b,” below).”

a.  “I do not/will not speak with another adult who is yelling (cursing, etc); and/or

b.  as an educator, I do not/will not speak to someone who uses vulgar/crass/inappropriate/disrespectful language.”

Refusal to Mask Up or Social Distance

All individuals on campus are required to wear masks or appropriate facial coverings if social distancing with a minimum distance of six feet is not feasible, in college buildings walking between offices, and at all times in classrooms and during group gatherings. Masks are required in the library at all times.

  • If you observe someone who is not wearing a required face covering/mask or practicing social distancing, calmly remind the person that masks and social distancing are required. Ask the person if he/she/they have a face mask, and whether they would like to use a spare one if they forgot theirs.
  • If a person does not want to wear a face covering/mask, he/she/they should be asked to leave the location where they are. If in class, the faculty member should also inform the student that failure to wear a face covering/mask in class will result in consequences (e.g., unexcused absence or impact on participation grade).
  • If the person refuses to leave the class or location because they are not willing to wear a face covering/mask, tell the person that you will call Campus Safety to have the person escorted from class or space.
    • If the person persists in refusing to leave, call Campus Safety.
    • Any incidents in which a faculty/staff member contacts Campus Safety will initiate the judicial process as described in the college Community Guide.
Crisis Level Issues

If there is high risk and the danger to you or someone else is imminent, call Campus Safety and then call 911. Please see the Crisis Response Protocol for further details.

Key Contacts

Campus Safety
Holly Parker, Director
(518) 327-6300

COVID Coordinator
Teresa Grosskopf
(518) 327-6451