27 Association of Research Libraries Research Library Issues 300 2020 facilitation (co-taught by faculty and LAM staff ) remote visual literacy workshops virtual lectures and a born-digital, student-curated exhibition.13 Conceived in crisis and delivered in calamity, LAM’s and UML’s pandemic-related initiatives were developed under conditions that rendered normal, iterative workflows impossible. Additionally, because these all-digital pivots were reactive rather than proactive, prototyping and proofs of concept had to, in the main, be cast aside in the name of expediency and responsiveness. This raised concerns for both units about strategic alignments, intentionality, calibration, sustainability, and mission drift. The possibility of inadvertently eroding institutional commitments to diversity, equity, access, and inclusion due to compressed timelines and limited capacities for consultative work also caused significant apprehension. To manage these issues as well as possible under the circumstances, LAM took a two-tiered approach. First, it convened a new cross- departmental Remote Engagement Task Force, helmed by Mark Osterman, LAM’s John S. and James L. Knight Digital Experience Manager, and charged with prioritizing, developing, and, ultimately, launching the museum’s menu of new digital initiatives. In addition, it convened four new working groups—Collections Teaching and Learning Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion (DEAI) and Audiences—to parse the four pillars of LAM’s 2019–2021 strategic plan with a view to ranking priorities in a vastly changed world. UML, too, hewed closely to the five pillars articulated in its 2017–2025 strategic plan—Learning Global Collections Research and Scholarship Community Engagement and Workforce Development—as it navigated this unprecedented crisis. The fact that UMLLAM did not actively pursue such strategies together surfaced, ex post facto, a blind spot in our organizational cultures something that UML and LAM will be addressing together as we all adjust to the “next normal” in COVID-19’s catastrophic wake.
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