27 Association of Research Libraries Research Library Issues 301 2020 operate. Through a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) lens, what has been most challenging about dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, and with the racial awakening and unrest that we are experiencing? Maha Kumaran: Work-wise, for me, reaching out to distributed (distance) students has been a priority and challenge. They are already shy about reaching out to libraries. Technology is a huge issue for many in terms of access. Faculty are often the conduit for these students but, with fewer classes in spring and summer, faculty are not in touch with me. International students, especially those who are new to Canada are experiencing major challenges. There are many implications for added costs (such as internet access from home) for those students. Curbside pick-up of library materials is one way to address this, but not everyone has access to physical resources. Anyone doing field research is being impacted, especially those studying marginalized populations. It is harder to reach these populations. Jeff Witt: The most challenging thing for us at Michigan is that, before we went to 100% remote work, we had laid the groundwork for doing a deep exploration into organizational culture and climate within the libraries. Most of that work is now stalled. I had just received a report on a focus group we conducted regarding the experience of people of color (POC) employees in the library. We have a similar report from 25 years ago to compare. We had just received the new report and organized a group within the libraries to look at it and make recommendations right before COVID-19 hit. The pandemic also interrupted our work on organizational culture. We were so excited that we had the support of the dean for the work. We are just now getting comfortable with working in this new way, and now we are ramping up the work again. Right now we are working through a process of very limited reentry. We polled students and researchers to get a sense about what services are most critical to their experience…the library services that need to happen within the building and thinking about staffing. Our services will be
Previous Page Next Page