Tim Coppen deposited How have lockdown measures affected library services and usage, and what changes to library services should be carried forward to the “new normal”? A case study of the libraries at City, University of London. in the group CityLIS on Humanities Commons 1 year ago
Background: COVID-19 has changed many aspects of life and work and meant altering or developing new processes to meet those changes and continue to deliver services. This has also been the case within academic libraries, who although were already largely shifting towards digital collections, found they had to continue to deliver services to students. Aim: This study aims to quantify how library usage changed at City, University of London, to explore how these changes affected staff and students, and to identify if any changes that took place as a result of lockdown measures should be continued when normal service can resume. Method: Library usage data from the lockdown period was reviewed, and compared to the past three years’ data. Transcript data from the library’s online chat application was quantified and reviewed. A previous survey of students at City that had been carried out by the library was analysed and the answers coded. Seven semi-structured interviews were carried out with different members of library staff at City. Results: The research showed that many of the existing trends in library usage, such as reductions in print circulation and usage of CityLibrary Search were accelerated by the lockdown measures. Although print and library spaces were used less than in previous years, they are still a vital space for some students and for library staff. The new measures that were introduced, or existing ones that were prioritized, have made the library service a more well-rounded one, and better for students overall. Conclusion: Although this is only a case study of one university library and did not include a bespoke survey of library users, it demonstrated the effects of lockdown on some key parts of library usage and services, and how these changes were perceived by staff, and to a lesser extent, students. It also provided recommendations for how the service could work going forwards, incorporating some of these new services or changes of focus.