Sustainable Online Library Services and Resources: Learning from the Pandemic

Libraries Unlimited: Teacher Ideas Pr. Oct. 2022. 257p. ed. by Mou Chakraborty & others. ISBN 9781440879258. pap. $65. PRO MEDIA
What lessons did libraries learn from the pandemic? This collection of 16 articles, edited by Chakraborty (director, external library services, Salisbury Univ.), Samantha Harlow (online learning librarian, Univ. of North Carolina at Greensboro), and Heather Moorefield-Lang (professor of library and information science, Univ. of North Carolina at Greensboro), examines the challenges libraries and staff faced during shutdowns and limited in-person access. This is not a collection of anecdotal “how we coped” stories, nor is it a how-to manual. Scholarly articles, many including literature reviews and methodologies, recount the experiences of mostly academic libraries. Public-library challenges included reference chat services, staff training, maintaining comics and gaming, and being a hub for social connectedness, especially for older adult patrons. Academic-library challenges included utilizing a hybrid approach to library instruction, and the forced adoption of unfamiliar new tools. Additional articles examine retooling academic-librarian hiring practices, accessing archival materials online, and library instruction for doctoral candidates. The book imparts the lesson that libraries need to be adaptable, in hiring and training staff and in providing in-person and online services. Whether during a pandemic or otherwise, “other duties as assigned” are more important than ever.
VERDICT A valuable resource for academic libraries, library schools, and large public library systems.
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