The effects of COVID-19 on Libraries: changes to the library and looking ahead

By: Diana Petrowicz, Wed Oct 21 2020
Diana Petrowicz

Author: Diana Petrowicz

Worldwide, government authorities have implemented public safety measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus in their respective countries. Universities quickly responded and modified operations, services and procedures, which included University and Scientific Libraries quickly closing and moving to providing library services virtually. 

Mr Yu Huang, E-resources Librarian and Head of Acquisitions and Collection Development at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics Library and Ms Louise Jones, University Librarian at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and member of Hong Kong’s academic library consortium (JULAC) are discussing the impact of the pandemic on libraries, how has the library is supporting the University community and maintaining its academic research activity through remote and virtual teaching and learning activities.

Mr. Yu Huang from Shanghai University of Finance and Economics Library highlights the immediate responses to support researchers and students provided by the library staff. Initiatives such as posting a batch of temporary free and open resources for teaching learning and research and offering links of subscribed eBooks for University Annual Reading Activities supported students and researchers when the library had to close. The library joined the network of CARSI-Shibboleth and opened databases such as ProQuest, Springer Nature, Emerald, Ebsco, Web of Science. Changes at the library where discussed in three special working groups: latest news and reading activities, e-resources use and virtual references and safety guarantee and remote access support. When the library reopened earlier this year, the staff had put all required safety measures in place and was operating an appointment driven service.

Ms Louise Jones, University Librarian at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) says that during the pandemic the library focused on safeguarding the health and well-being of CUHK staff and students and enabling library staff to work from home as necessary. The library staff organised off campus access to library resources, access to physical books, safe study space, individual support by email, phone as well as online and started to deliver workshops online. To keep connected to users, the library staff arranged online meetings with student representatives, and the Associate Faculty Deans and kept the communications going through social media and the University website. In addition, the library extended its digital offering with new library guides, learning objects “How to” guides. The electronic library offered a print to e-copy service for books, on-demand digitization of books, established a digital course pack service with additional university funding and obtained permission to make 22,335 local archive TV programs temporarily accessible via the university’s VPN.

Find out more about the measures undertaken by Shanghai University of Finance and Economics Library and the Chinese University of Hong Kong in this webinar recording.

For more information download the presentation by Yu Huang and Louise Jones.

Diana Petrowicz

Author: Diana Petrowicz

Diana Petrowicz is a Marketing Manager in the Sales Enablement team, based in the London office. Supporting the Sales and Account Development teams, she is enthusiastic about finding innovate ways to communicate with the library community and specialises in producing and writing case studies across the portfolio.