Arabesques n°101

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Libraries in times of pandemic, reinventing the link with the public

April-May-June 2021

On 17 March 2020, the whole of France was suddenly plunged into a total lockdown, put in place to fight the Covid-19 epidemic. How did libraries react to this unprecedented situation?

Our dossier on libraries in times of pandemic shows that they have shown a great capacity for resilience. After the state of shock, which was widely shared by society as a whole, their first concern was to maintain as much as possible the link with their users as well as access to their collections and a minimum range of services. They also joined forces to act collectively with their supervisory bodies to improve the regulatory framework for receiving the public in times of health crisis.

With their digital resources, which an exceptional mobilisation of all the professionals in the sector has enabled to be strengthened and made more widely available, as well as online services, libraries have often become the most sought-after service in universities. The development of remote services has, paradoxically, highlighted the importance of human mediation.

There is no doubt that this unique experience will have a lasting impact on the way libraries see their role and the way that role is perceived by their regulators and users.