Brian Lavoie (OCLC) recently published a post on OCLC Research’s blog, Hanging Together: “On COVID-19, research libraries, and … turtles.” Lavoie’s post summarizes recent OCLC Research Library Partnership (RLP) Research Support Interest Group online sessions, with conversations focusing on “how completely the university research enterprise ground to a halt” and how this affected research libraries, their services, and the people who work in them.
Lavoie notes that the initial focus on moving all learning online meant that research support was not a primary concern at first, and that the shuttering of physical library spaces has naturally affected library usage. But he also notes that “librarians are also seeing increased interest in some services”:
Streaming content is growing in popularity, especially as publishers have started offering certain content for free – although there are worries that this free access is only temporary. Use of online “chat” reference services has also increased. And in some cases, access to print collections has been “virtualized”: at the University of Minnesota, for example, online access to millions of the library’s print books has been established through emergency access to digitized versions held in the HathiTrust Digital Library.
The post ends by noting that “Participants agreed that as we move forward, we need to re-examine these pandemic-era workflows, and how the library can help organize and optimize them.”