Even with classes online, library services continue

Materials may be picked up in the WAC or at any IPL branch


Ava Amos

Library/media assistant Ms. Alannah Cataldo works at her desk. She provided information for how students could access books and other materials during eLearning.

Ava Amos, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Virtual learning may be bringing in-person classes and activities to a temporary halt; however, it isn’t stopping the library from providing books to students.

Library/Media Assistant Ms. Alannah Cataldo shared information about how students can continue to check out books in the midst of the pandemic. In a typical year, she said, “You would be able to come in and browse the library and find things you like or order. (You could) get on your IndyPL account and have (books) sent to Cathedral from Indianapolis Public Library.”

Earlier this school year, while students were still attending in-person classes, there was another system in place in order “to minimize lingering in the library. Once we got the items you requested, we would check them out to (students) immediately upon reception of them at the library. (We) would leave them on the shelf and all returns instead of being brought to our desk, went into a bin where they were then quarantined for three days before we’d put them back on our shelves,” Cataldo said.

Presently for the virtual system, students can still request books. Cataldo said, “You can even have them sent here to Cathedral if you want to pick them up at here and now we’ll leave them at Door 2 over by the (Welch Activity Center). So you can still access the books; it’s just not the traditional sense of being able to browse. Even requesting feels a little bit different because you don’t see the books until they’re checked out to you,” Cataldo said.

You can use any Indianapolis Public Library location in the city.”

— Library/Media Assistant Ms. Alannah Cataldo

Students don’t have to check books out directly from the school, as they can use an IndyPL location as well. She said, “You can still use your library card, even though you’re not on campus. You can use any Indianapolis Public Library location in the city. And in the Indianapolis Public Library locations, a lot of them you can still go in and browse if you wanted. Or if it’s too far to come to Cathedral, maybe you live on the other side of town, you can request that your pickup site be the closest Indianapolis Public Library location to you.”

If students live near the school, they can return books to Door 2, or they also have the option of returning them to their closest IndyPL if they don’t live nearby. “Even if you have a book that belonged to us here, if you return it at another IndyPL location (and) it will make its way back to us. We are here still getting deliveries once a week and checking everything back in so that there’s nothing on your account and everything is still running as smoothly as possible,” Cataldo said.

IPL librarians chose this process based how all the other libraries in the nation are working right now. Cataldo said, “A lot of other shared system members (of IndyPL) are doing curbside pick-up depending on how big their school is or what they have available. So we all just shared ideas as Marion County decided to shut down, and this was the best version of these ideas that we came up with. You guys can still come pick up things at Door 2. We have someone there, which other schools don’t.”

All the other library activities are still going on as well. Books and Bites (which used to be called Books and Bagels) is still holding Zoom meetings once a month during which students discuss book recommendations. Five By Five Five, which challenges students to read five non-school required appropriate reading level books by May 5 in order to earn a lunch in the library is in full swing. And the Twelve Books of Christmas, which students can access through their email, provides book recommendations provided by educators and other students. 

Cataldo added that everything else also is still available. Cataldo said, “If you need books or DVDs and you want a physical copy, you can absolutely still request those things. We are still here looking for your holds and checking things out for you, so please let us know if you’re having a hard time. We can help you find it and have it sent to the closest branch to you. If you’re not into the physical books because you don’t want to use any physical items that came from another place, we still have a huge eBook collection and streaming that you can absolutely use.”

Students with questions can contact Cataldo at [email protected].