Academic library services to support distance learning

what are we doing in post-COVID times?



: During the pandemic situation brought about by COVID in 2020, higher education libraries promoted efforts to reach their readers in lockdown, demonstrating the adaptability of their services, products, and staff. The COVID-19 pandemic has driven social distancing around the world, closing universities, schools, and other services, and for that reason, the implementation of remote services has proved to be an adequate solution. Currently, after these intense alterations, it is essential to know what changes have remained in the provision of resources for distance learning. Did libraries take advantage of the lessons of COVID to transform and readapt themselves? This article analyses the support for distance learning higher education libraries in Portugal continue to provide, regardless of the teaching model offered by their institutions. To this end, a survey was carried out among Portuguese higher education librarians based on the Standards for Distance Learning Library Services (ACRL, 2016). This study seeks to obtain data on the availability of services to users, the contribution to academic excellence through equity, direct human access, distance training, the remote services’ strategy, as well as the libraries' assessment in this context, and, finally, the online resources available. The results allow us to examine the strategic options of libraries in adapting their services to distance learning, revealing what sort of changes stood out in the recent period. An investigation like this is beneficial to understand and support the decision, not only in the selection of information resources to be purchased or allocated but also to define comprehensive strategies which, instead of looking for a drastic transition from a face-to-face model to an online one, should be complementary and maintain hybrid forms in the relationship with the libraries' users.

Author Biography

  • Luiza Baptista Melo, Universidade de Lisboa- Faculdade Meedicina Dentária / CIDEHUS - Universidade de Évora

    Degree in Chemistry, scientific branch, Faculty of Sciences, University of Lisbon; MsC in Archives, Libraries and Information Sciences, University of Évora University; PhD in Information Sciences and Documentation of the University of Évora. I worked in the academic libraries at the Portuguese Catholic University - Oporto, University Lusíada - Oporto and University of Porto. Currently, I'm working at the University of Lisbon. Since 2000, I have developed research in the areas of statistics, quality assessment, performance, impact and value of libraries, information services, open access and open science. I'm author of several articles in national and international journals and participate regularly in conferences in Portugal and abroad. It have integrated scientific committees of congresses at international level. Since 2005, I'm member and researcher at the University of Évora-Interdisciplinary center of history, Cultures and Societies (CIDEHUS.UE). I'm teacher and coordinator of training courses in BAD - Portuguese Association of Librarians, Archivists and Documentalists.


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