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COVID-19 and digital library services – a case study of a university library

Dipti Mehta (Department of Reference Services, Bridgewater State University, Bridgewater, Massachusetts, USA)
Xiaocan Wang (Department of Digital Library Services, Bridgewater State University, Bridgewater, Massachusetts, USA and Lucy Home, Bridgewater, Massachusetts, USA)

Digital Library Perspectives

ISSN: 2059-5816

Article publication date: 25 June 2020

Issue publication date: 11 December 2020




The purpose of this paper is to share the experience of a university library in response to the COVID-19 pandemic since early March 2020. The paper describes the library’s position during the crisis and illustrates the uncharted challenges that the pandemic has posed to its digital services. Furthermore, it details how the library has adapted some existing services into a digital format and explored new initiatives/practices to support the university’s full online teaching and learning since March 23, 2020.


This paper describes the library’s various digital services that are used to meet the needs of its end-users during the COVID-19 pandemic. The approaches used are the authors’ personal experiences working at an academic library, observations of the library’s responses with regards to its digital services, as well as their reflections on what can be considered for development now and in the future. It highlights the current initiatives and best practices for digital library services during a public health crisis.


This paper aims to make other university libraries aware of what the library has implemented with providing digital services to its teaching faculty and students during the pandemic. It also describes the challenges and implications for the library professionals working in-house and remotely.


This paper is of great value in providing insights and practical solutions responding to the global health crisis for other libraries that are coping with the similar challenges for digital library services.



The authors sincere thank all the staff of Maxwell Library at BSU for their input, insights, innovative ideas and experience during the global pandemic, COVID-19.


Mehta, D. and Wang, X. (2020), "COVID-19 and digital library services – a case study of a university library", Digital Library Perspectives, Vol. 36 No. 4, pp. 351-363.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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