Most Denton libraries have shuttered their doors in hopes of slowing the spread of COVID-19.

But the University of North Texas, Texas Woman’s University and city library systems continue to check out items digitally to those eligible.

UNT’s flagship Willis Library remains open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the workweek, but the Denton Public Library and the TWU library have moved online to the best of their abilities.

Mary Ann Venner, associate dean for public services over Willis, said librarians and other staffers continue to work to help students make the transition as nearly all UNT classes have moved online. Help takes many forms, from digitizing information to offering up at least 30 specialized librarians for various subjects.

One of the most helpful resources, Venner said, comes from publishers, some of which have given students free access to textbooks.

Additionally, the library has extended checkout periods for books, as well as for the roughly 700 laptops in its possession. Instead of the normal four-hour checkout, students can hold on to laptops through the end of the semester. To check laptop availability and ask other questions, Venner directed students to reach out through library.unt.edu/ask-us.

Jennifer Cowley, provost and vice president over academic affairs for UNT, estimated 700 students were still living on campus Friday afternoon. She said university officials aren’t sure how many students are still living off campus in or near Denton.

Beginning the evening of March 24, the TWU library moved online until further notice.

“The library is the heart of any campus; a gathering place for students, staff and faculty to meet, work and relax,” read a notice posted to the library’s website. “This is what makes the libraries so special.”

This inherent strength of libraries is what made them potentially dangerous during a global pandemic. TWU librarians continue to work to help students virtually.

City libraries closed up following a March 18 notice from the Denton City Council. Effective last Wednesday, March 25, curbside pickup was suspended. The following day, the library was no longer accepting holds placed on items. Existing holds remain valid, according to the library’s website.

MARSHALL REID can be reached at 940-566-6862 and via Twitter at @MarshallKReid.

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