Delivering services in the new normal: Recording the experiences of UK public library staff during the COVID-19 pandemic

Elaine Robinson, Ian Ruthven, David McMenemy (Lead / Corresponding author)

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Abstract

This paper reports the results of a survey undertaken in December 2021 and January 2022 related to public library staff in the United Kingdom and their experiences of COVID-19, exploring the lockdowns that were enabled, the subsequent re-openings, their mental health and their views for the future of the service post-COVID-19. Over 200 responses were received, and the findings indicate a range of views. The importance of the library as a community resource is evident in the comments from staff, and their observations of patrons on library re-openings. Findings also indicate concern for the future of the library service, and fear that new technologies like e-books may be seen as adequate replacements for the traditional library service. Findings also indicate staff face stress and mental health issues in terms of dealing with patrons while the virus remains highly prevalent.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Librarianship and Information Science
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 May 2022

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • mental health
  • pandemic
  • Public libraries
  • staff

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