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Article
Publication date: 25 June 2020

Dipti Mehta and Xiaocan Wang

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…

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Originality/value

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.

Details

Digital Library Perspectives, vol. 36 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-5816

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Article
Publication date: 12 August 2020

Marc Kosciejew

This study aims to present and discuss the international library and information community’s initial responses to the coronavirus pandemic. It chronicles official…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to present and discuss the international library and information community’s initial responses to the coronavirus pandemic. It chronicles official statements from various library and information associations as they were released in real-time, thereby providing a contemporary and historical snapshot of the early stages of this global health crisis. The aim is to both historically and thematically contextualize these initial responses to help establish a foundation upon which to anchor, build, extend and analyze approaches to the pandemic as it unfolded (and indeed as it continues to unfold at the time of this writing in June 2020).

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing upon a qualitative documentary analysis of statements on COVID-19 released by various international library and information associations, this study provides a thematic analysis of these contemporary policies. Specifically, this thematic analysis was carried out to identify and illuminate major themes appearing within the statements. Further, a comparative thematic analysis was then undertaken to compare the themes across all statements to discover and determine convergences or divergences in content and coverage.

Findings

The formal statements released by these organizations feature and share many similar themes in their initial responses to COVID-19, including support for/solidarity with libraries; information provision; maintaining services; digital migration of services; workplace arrangements/concerns; contextual contingencies of libraries (diversity of kinds, circumstances and challenges); health concerns and proper/good hygiene; countering dis/misinformation; external collaborations with public health agencies; and partnerships with industry including publishers.

Research limitations/implications

Although this study’s purview is admittedly limited in size and scope – involving six, albeit major, library and information associations from mainly English speaking countries – it can be used as a foundation for further studies into how libraries and information centres in other English and non-English speaking countries responded to the coronavirus pandemic.

Practical implications

This study can help inform current, alternative, contingency or other future library responses geared towards or tailored for the coronavirus or other health-related crises. It can also be used as a baseline to track the trajectory of library responses and actions as they unfolded throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

Social implications

By providing the start of an account and analysis of the international library and information science (LIS) community’s initial responses, this study also contributes to the broader (ongoing) conversation about the coronavirus pandemic and intervenes in emerging historical examinations of this crisis. This study could be of interest to LIS scholars and practitioners, in addition to public health researchers, public policymakers, cultural studies academics and historians, interested in how different and intersectional efforts – in this case, the international LIS community – contributed and can contribute to this pandemic and other similar or parallel crises.

Originality/value

The international library and information community’s initial responses to this global health crisis are contextualized, thereby serving as a foundation upon which to anchor, build and extend other research on responses to the pandemic as it unfolded. Drawing upon a qualitative documentary analysis of these statements, this study presents and discusses the international library community’s initial responses to the coronavirus pandemic. It chronicles these statements as they were released in real-time, thereby providing a contemporary and historical snapshot of the early stages of this crisis. The aim is to both historically and thematically contextualize the international library and information community’s initial responses to help establish a foundation upon which to anchor, build, extend and update the international library community’s responses to the pandemic as it unfolded (and indeed as it continues to unfold at the time of this writing in June 2020). This foundation, it is hoped, will help illuminate their respective positions, circumstances, convergences, divergences and areas of possible (future) cooperation, coordination and collaboration.

Details

Global Knowledge, Memory and Communication, vol. 70 no. 4/5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2514-9342

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Article
Publication date: 22 March 2021

Collence Takaingenhamo Chisita and Ukwoma Scholastica Chizoma

Academic libraries’ response to the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic might be an opportunity to reassert and reemphasise their roles in the national disaster…

Abstract

Purpose

Academic libraries’ response to the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic might be an opportunity to reassert and reemphasise their roles in the national disaster management matrix. The purpose of this study is to review the responses of academic libraries in South Africa during the COVID-19 pandemic. The global outbreak of COVID-19 has precipitated a challenge amongst all institutions, communities and libraries as evidenced by the growing lockdowns, deaths and shocking statistics of infections. This has triggered a fundamental need to rethink how libraries can establish innovative ways to continue providing services to users.

Design/methodology/approach

This study adopted the interpretive research paradigm to review the situation in South Africa in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The study used an analysis of secondary sources, the activities that took place and personal experience to answer the research questions.

Findings

The analysis showed that academic libraries and publishers have risen to the occasion, offering more free content and curating personalised collections so that citizens can have uninterrupted access to content and learning. The digital libraries in South Africa are considered vital alleyways to high-quality e-books, journals and educational content, including open educational resources. Digital library services have enabled academic libraries in South Africa to excel in providing online services, therefore ensuring that learning, research and teaching continued.

Originality/value

This study, using Habermas’s idea of the public sphere as a fundamental theoretical framework, notes that when the physical space is closed, it is necessary for academic libraries in South Africa to make use of the digital space. This study will contribute to the corpus of knowledge relating to South African digital libraries’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Details

Information Discovery and Delivery, vol. 49 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-6247

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Article
Publication date: 2 June 2021

Maureen Garvey

This case study was conducted to assess and make changes to the consortial virtual reference service for the remainder of the period of fully virtual reference (campus…

Abstract

Purpose

This case study was conducted to assess and make changes to the consortial virtual reference service for the remainder of the period of fully virtual reference (campus closure); a second objective was to consider implications for service design and delivery upon the eventual return to the physical campus.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper begins by introducing the institution, reference practices prior to the pandemic and the changes to reference service necessitated by the campus closure. After a literature review of material related to reference and the pandemic, several years of virtual reference service data are analyzed.

Findings

The use of consortial virtual reference service has significantly increased in the pandemic, as demonstrated by questions asked by users and questions answered by librarians. Changes to work practices based on these data have been made.

Originality/value

This work is original in that it relates to the physical closure of the campus due to the pandemic, about which, to date, little has been published specifically concerning the design and delivery of reference services.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. 49 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

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Article
Publication date: 16 August 2021

Marc Kosciejew

The purpose of this paper is as follows: the first objective is to help illuminate part of the international archival sector’s initial responses to the crisis at its…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is as follows: the first objective is to help illuminate part of the international archival sector’s initial responses to the crisis at its commencement, particularly by thematically analyzing the announcements made by national archives, which are arguably the leading archival institutions in their respective countries and the second objective is to help establish a joint contemporary understanding and historical snapshot of the positions of national archives during the first few months of the pandemic.

Design/methodology/approach

A comparative thematic analysis of national archives’ first formal public-facing COVID-19 announcements, released between March and May 2020, is conducted, specifically from the official websites of Australia’s National Archives of Australia, Canada’s Library and Archives Canada, New Zealand’s Archives New Zealand, the United Kingdom’s (UK) The National Archives and the United States of America’s (USA) National Archives.

Findings

Notwithstanding their diverse contexts, all the announcements thematically converge in discussing the closure of physical locations and spaces, as well as maintaining (reduced) services and offering remote access. Another theme appearing across most announcements is the concern for the protection of the health, welfare and safety of their communities. Additional themes featured in some of the announcements include considerations about the handling of paper records and physical materials, the removal and/or return of materials and the provision of further COVID-19 information. Unique themes appearing only once include steps for enacting precautions, furloughing staff and reopening and post-pandemic planning.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations to the article’s purview include its small sample size, focus on mainly English-speaking contexts and analysis of only official websites. Nevertheless, this sample arguably includes some of the major and leading archival institutions, not only in their respective countries but also internationally, namely, two national archives from North America (Canada and the USA), one from the wider European region (the UK) and two from Oceania (Australia and New Zealand). Further studies could expand the cohort size, diversify the focus for instance by analyzing social media postings and metrics and extend the timeframe.

Practical implications

This study could be of interest to archival academics and professionals, as well as library and information science scholars and practitioners, public health researchers and policymakers, cultural studies scholars and historians, exploring international and intersectional initiatives that have informed or are currently informing, approaches to and understandings of this pandemic and other similar health crises. It is further hoped that this study will humbly show support and supply solidarity with the wider archival community as it continues responding to and dealing with COVID-19.

Social implications

Capturing and analyzing aspects of national archives’ communication strategies related to the coronavirus pandemic is a topic of interest, not only for contemporary attempts for dealing with and understanding the crisis but also as a historical snapshot of their responses at this particular point in time.

Originality/value

By contributing to ongoing conversations about the coronavirus pandemic, this study provides the beginning of an analysis of the international archival sector’s initial interventions within it. As the first article in the archival literature on this topic, a baseline and point of reference are established for other studies that will hopefully follow on this topic. In these ways, it can also contribute to debates on how archives and other cultural memory institutions including libraries, museums and galleries, have reacted to the coronavirus pandemic and their resulting communication strategies and impacts upon their institutions, missions, collections, services and communities.

Details

Global Knowledge, Memory and Communication, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2514-9342

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Article
Publication date: 16 September 2021

Trecia Latoya Pryce, Jollette Russell, Marsha Nicola Crawford, Joan Opal McDermott and Ariel Christina, Nordia Perkins

The purpose of this study is to detail the experiences, perspectives and emerging framework for the delivery of library services by member libraries of the College…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to detail the experiences, perspectives and emerging framework for the delivery of library services by member libraries of the College Libraries Information Network (COLINET) at the onset and during the COVID-19 pandemic in Jamaica.

Design/methodology/approach

An exploratory sequential mixed approach was used for this study. Qualitative data was collected initially using a semi-structured interview with a virtual focus group comprising seven librarians from the COLINET in Jamaica. Purposive sampling was used to select the participants for the focus group. The second phase of data collection used an online survey through Google Forms to the membership of COLINET; 19 of 31 libraries (61.2%) responded to the survey.

Findings

The findings reveal the current status of library operation and service delivery at the COLINET member libraries. The impact of COVID-19 on staffing arrangements, support and engagement, library resources and services are seen through the lens of the challenges and opportunities presented by the pandemic.

Research limitations/implications

In total, 19 of the 31 libraries in COLINET responded to the survey; therefore, the researchers were unable to get a comprehensive assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on COLINET libraries.

Practical implications

This study will assist libraries in their response to COVID-19 and other similar future national public health crises. The findings and recommendations can provide a blueprint for developing policies and procedures for libraries during a national health crisis. Additionally, it will add to the empirical literature on Caribbean libraries.

Originality/value

This study is essential for libraries responding to the coronavirus pandemic in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean region. This study examines the response of academic libraries from diverse tertiary institutions; exploring their challenges, solutions and emerging frameworks; making it representative and inclusive for academic libraries. This study advances the limited research that exists with regard to Caribbean libraries and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Details

Global Knowledge, Memory and Communication, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2514-9342

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Article
Publication date: 9 February 2021

Sasekea Yoneka Harris

This paper examined the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on people, place, product and services in Jamaican academic libraries. It also compares…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper examined the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on people, place, product and services in Jamaican academic libraries. It also compares the Jamaican academic library’s COVID-19 experience with US academic library’s COVID-19 preliminary experience.

Design/methodology/approach

The local academic libraries in higher education in Jamaica (also referred to in this paper as university libraries) were surveyed.

Findings

Government mandates, university mandates and the absence of a vaccine influenced academic library response. The measures implemented, though unplanned and developed on-the-go, constituted a behavioural change model (BCM). COVID-19 has had a positive-negative impact on library people, place, product and services and has created a new normal for Jamaican academic libraries.

Research limitations/implications

This paper captures the preliminary response of Jamaican academic libraries to the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on library people, place, product and services. As such, a follow-up survey on changes, challenges, strengths, impact, lessons and plans would be a useful complement to this paper. As COVID-19 information is rapidly evolving, this preliminary response of Jamaica is neither the final nor complete response to the pandemic.

Practical implications

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed a gap in the literature on disaster management generally and pandemic management in particular, and on the management of health disasters in academic libraries; this paper seeks to fill this gap, albeit incrementally, through Jamaica's preliminary response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Originality/value

This paper gives voice to the Caribbean academic library’s COVID-19 experience, through the voice of Jamaica. It is the first scholarly paper on the impact of COVID-19 on university libraries in the Jamaican / English-speaking Caribbean, and so presents the elements of the BCM implemented by Jamaica, which provides an important guide to Caribbean academic library leaders. The findings can also inform the Latin American and Caribbean section of international library papers on COVID-19 impact on academic libraries globally.

Details

Library Management, vol. 42 no. 6-7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-5124

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Article
Publication date: 26 July 2021

Sandy Hervieux

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of the pandemic on the questions received via chat reference at a Canadian university library.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the impact of the pandemic on the questions received via chat reference at a Canadian university library.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative analysis using coding of chat transcripts and a quantitative analysis of the length of chat interactions were used in this study.

Findings

The author determined that the types of questions received changed slightly during the pandemic due to the new library services offered. The complexity level of questions did not change significantly nor did the presence of instruction. The length of individual chat interactions and the total amount of time spent on chat increased, most likely due to the extended hours of the service and the number of patron questions present in one interaction.

Originality/value

This is the first study to investigate the potential impact of the pandemic on virtual reference services at a university library. The findings could lead to practical implications for libraries who need to close their in-person reference desk or need to respond to building closures.

Details

Reference Services Review, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0090-7324

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Article
Publication date: 15 December 2020

Joseph Kehinde Fasae, Clement Ola Adekoya and Idowu Adegbilero-Iwari

The study aims to investigate the academic libraries' response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic situation in Nigeria.

Abstract

Purpose

The study aims to investigate the academic libraries' response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic situation in Nigeria.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey research design was employed for the study. The population of the study was all the 584 approved academic institutions in Nigeria. A structured questionnaire administered online was designed to collect data with Google Form from heads of library (who are the chief principal officer) in all the academic institutions. The link to the survey was sent to the Nigeria Library Association (NLA) Online Forum, the platform on which Nigerian librarians fete and discuss issues relating to the profession. Social media tools such as WhatsApp and Telegram belonging to groups of academic librarians in Nigeria were also employed. The heads of the library from 108 academic libraries responded to the survey. The data generated were analyzed using a statistical tool and presented in tables.

Findings

The finding reveals that nearly all the students are not on campus since they have been directed to vacate their campus as a result of the lockdown. The study reveals some safety measures that were put in place by the libraries in Nigeria to include total closure of the library (59.3%), provision of hand sanitizer (55.6%) and the use of face mask and nose covers by library users (31.9%). The finding further indicates social distancing measures also put in place to include communication done via social media (59.3%), attendance to patrons (51.9%), class/lecture (51.9%), training/conferences (37%) and paper presentations (37%) that are all canceled, respectively. On access to library materials, a majority (87.96%) of the academic libraries in Nigeria provide only online materials to their users, while 9.26% of the academic libraries provide access to both prints and online materials.

Research limitations/implications

The paper will contribute to the body of literature on academic libraries' response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria and beyond.

Practical implications

While the disease is still very much with the world, libraries have to continue providing information resources in support of the research studies and sensitize the world on the measures to take to curtail the pandemic.

Originality/value

The results can help other libraries find ways and means to adjust services, so that they can still meet the needs of users in this pandemic.

Details

Library Hi Tech, vol. 39 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0737-8831

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Article
Publication date: 16 February 2021

Sasekea Yoneka Harris

This paper examined the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic (known as COVID-19) on Jamaican academic libraries, during the first six months, with an emphasis on…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper examined the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic (known as COVID-19) on Jamaican academic libraries, during the first six months, with an emphasis on revealed library strengths, biggest impact, lessons learned and plans for library business continuity.

Design/methodology/approach

The local academic libraries in higher education in Jamaica (also referred to in this paper as university libraries) were surveyed.

Findings

The coronavirus pandemic revealed strengths in the areas of staffing and library modality and had the biggest impact on the latter. Lessons were learned in preparedness, communication, documentation, collaboration, staffing, library modality, and infrastructure/systems, which together shaped plans for library business re-opening/continuity.

Research limitations/implications

This paper captures the initial response of Jamaican Academic Libraries (JAL) to the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Information on COVID-19 is rapidly evolving, and the preliminary initial response of Jamaica is neither the final nor complete response to the pandemic. As such, a follow-up survey of months 7–12 would be useful. Also, a survey of all English-speaking Caribbean academic libraries would be of value to library evidence and practice.

Practical implications

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed a gap in the literature on library disaster management in general but also specifically on pandemic preparedness and management, and library business continuity during a pandemic. Using JAL' response, this paper proposes: “A Pandemic Preparedness Business Continuity Planning Checklist for Jamaican Academic Libraries”, which can be adopted/adapted in other Caribbean/developing country academic libraries, as well as other library types in Jamaica, which currently look to the understudied university libraries for leadership.

Originality/value

This paper is the first scholarly paper on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on university libraries in the Jamaican / English-speaking Caribbean, with a focus on revealed strengths, biggest impact, lessons learned, plans for library business re-opening/continuity. As the scholarly literature on pandemic management in Caribbean academic libraries is non-existent, this paper seeks to fill this gap, albeit incrementally. Additionally, the findings can inform the Latin America and Caribbean section of international library papers on COVID-19 impact on academic libraries globally.

Details

Library Management, vol. 42 no. 6/7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-5124

Keywords

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