Documenting our resolute response to 2020
The promises of digital preservation and access become reality.
On March 10, the announcements began. A two-week suspension of face-to-face teaching following spring break was the first of many modifications at Indiana University to respond to the public health effects of the coronavirus. As Provost Lauren Robel said in her March 11 message to campus, "We do not take any of these actions lightly, and we take them on the advice of our medical and public health professionals, with deep regard and respect for the public health authorities’ assessments of local, national, and international conditions."
Of course, as the days turned into weeks, nearly all places of learning, everywhere, transitioned into virtual landscapes. At Indiana University, classes were completed online, and then for Fall 2020 a hybrid model was introduced to allow some return of in-person education.
By March, the IU Libraries Moving Image Archive had already hosted 38 in-person screenings for 916 attendees: and then the projectors were silenced. With the exception of the most essential personnel, all library buildings were closed to staff and students alike in March and did not begin to reopen until July.
In this new landscape, IU Libraries quickly found a spotlight on its longtime commitment to digital and virtual access to knowledge. Decades of work to create systems for scanning and delivery, text and chat modules for reference, digitization of archival materials, and, especially, the roles and expertise of our librarians in digital environments were swiftly called upon. New ways of using technology immediately became real with one-on-one Zoom consultations replacing in-person reference appointments and Facebook Live becoming a tool used for work as well as social.
Over the course of the pandemic, modifications to services and access have been necessary. In the relevant discussions two themes were constant: What do our students and faculty want and need? What is the most we can do while also mitigating risk?
No-contact Paged Pickup, waived fines, HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access Service (ETAS), Virtual Reference expansion, reserved seating, and the Healthy Operations Support Team (HOST) were just a few of the answers to those questions. Learn more about them below.
IU Libraries is ready to help by phone, text, chat, click, and recently, (carefully) in-person. After a summer of planning and communication with university leadership, some IU Libraries branches resumed modified in-person services. Stringent cleaning regimens, mask requirements, materials quarantine, and reservation or appointment-only systems were used to provide health protections to the IU community.
IU Libraries fall 2020 seat reservations
151 minutes Average booking duration
4,619 Unique users
1,000+ Children's books circulated by the Education Library, Fall 2020
1,635 increased number digitally linked recordings by Archives of Traditional Music, Fall 2020
743 print articles scanned and shared electronically, june-october 2020
100+ Music scores scanned for course reserves, Fall 2020
1,200+ number IU Performances added to or enhanced in Media Collections Online
3,148 Items circulated from the Wells and Music library via Paged Pickup, June 15- August 14, 2020
Responding to COVID-19
- HOSTing safe study
- Virtual reference
- No-contact Paged Pickup
- HathiTrust ETAS
- Online events highlight unique archive collections
When considering the optimal environment for indoor studying in library spaces, having trained staff dedicated to maintaining public health measures was a priority. By establishing the Healthy Operations Support Team, or HOST, IU Libraries was able to implement a seat reservation system requiring individual check-in and ongoing safety monitoring.
The primary purpose of the Team is to promote physical distancing, use of face coverings, and other healthy behaviors that must be followed to allow IU students, staff, and faculty the opportunity to work on campus. HOST staff also provide support for finding and connecting with needed library and academic services, and generally welcome and assist the individuals using library spaces in whatever way might be needed.
IU affiliates were able to reserve both study spaces at tables as well as enclosed rooms for single person occupancy, at first for up to three hours at a time. As the semester continued, longer reservations were implemented along with more flexibility for multiple reservations. Nearly 20,000 seat reservations were made across all library locations in the Fall of 2020, and the system will be sustained into the Spring 2021 semester.
In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020, more than 8,000 virtualized reference experiences were recorded for questions answered through email, chat and text message. The closing of library buildings in no way closed access to its librarians. In fact, because virtual reference had long been identified as a benefit to busy students and faculty, offering online service is a continual priority for IU Libraries. Appointments have never been required for drop-in chat windows and emails are answered within 24-hours - sooner for less complex research needs.
Taking the online availability a step further, several members of the IU LIbraries reference team presented a well-attended live Q&A on the Indiana University Facebook page. Scheduled Zoom consultations have also become a popular way to consult with Archivists and Librarians at the Lilly Library, Archives of Traditional Music, Scholars' Commons and University Archives. Many librarian profiles now feature a direct link for immediate Zoom appointment scheduling.
A strong demand for physical library materials was evident from the first weeks of the pandemic. After researching necessary quarantine periods and processes, IU Libraries was able to offer a no-contact pickup service beginning June 15. For the next two months, members of the Bloomington campus community submitted requests online for library materials; and then scheduled a pickup appointment at either the Herman B Wells Library or the William and Gayle Cook Music Library. Requests were limited to 25 items per patron, per day for the popular service.
HathiTrust is the largest set of digitized books managed by academic and research libraries. Founded in 2008 by a collaborative of the universities of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (now the Big Ten Academic Alliance) and the University of California system, HathiTrust preserves 17+ million digitized print items. Of these, 6.7 million titles are available with no reading charges to everyone.
Additionally, through a temporary arrangement, Indiana University students, faculty, and staff are able to log into HathiTrust to read copyrighted titles in the collection that IU Libraries owns in print format. This makes 1.73 million additional items available when the collection is closed for print circulation. The books accessed through Emergency Temporary Access Service are made available under the fair use sections of the United States Copyright Act.
From April 2020 when ETAS became available, through early December, more than 30,000 IU-full text items have been accessed by Indiana University users. Check out periods are in one-hour increments, which can be extended as long as another user has not requested access. Books are viewed online in the web browser but are not able to be downloaded in full.
What began as experiments in connection, communication, and teaching quickly became a space of shared learning and community. Online events are a safe, inclusive way for librarians and archivists to create meaningful experiences that ignite interest in archival collections. Now, attendees from all over Indiana, the US, and even other countries can easily connect directly with presenters and each other through Zoom and Twitch platforms. Examples of recent online events highlighting specific archive items include:
- From Donaldson Farm to Spring Mill State Park: What’s IU Got To Do With It? by University Archives
- IU Baseball in Japan, 1922: A Trip We Can All Take! by University Archives and the Preservation Lab
- Social Guidance Sunday - Social Distancing Edition - Stress Test or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Moving Image Archive by the Moving Image Archives
- Contemporary Art, Marginalized Voices, Historic Spaces
by the Wylie House Museum
Back Home Again in Indiana
Welcome to our workspaces. Below a few IU Libraries staff and faculty share what working at home has looked like over the past several months, new co-workers included.