15 Association of Research Libraries Research Library Issues 303 2022 & Special Collections, which has already allowed classes to create their own special collections digital exhibits. Looking at the visitor numbers for the fall 2021 semester, and specifically at the use of these new spaces that allow for active interactions and creation, underpinned by new technologies, I concluded that library space that affords active engagement and is based on user needs and behaviors, as well as on institutional priorities (or “institutional desires,” as Shrey called them), will endure post-pandemic. To counteract this point, however, I cautioned that not all library spaces are the same, in other words, not all will endure and one-size solutions do not fit all contexts. Barely a month and a half has passed since the panel as I write this, and the news is full of pieces on a new COVID “variant of concern” and countries are beginning to close borders again. The idea of a post-pandemic world seems ever more elusive. Even if there is a post- pandemic future for libraries, I can’t help but be reminded of a recent piece in Inside Higher Education by my colleague David Banush, the dean of libraries and academic information resources at Tulane University, in which he discussed what climate change and natural disasters mean for libraries in affected areas, and posited that libraries need to focus on collective services, rather than just on collective collections.1 The common theme that emerges for me from the panel, and as I try to think about the future of the library as place, whether in a post- pandemic or a permanent-pandemic world, is that of partnerships. Partnerships between libraries (to offer collective services) partnerships with instructional and research faculty around the creation of new knowledge partnerships with the community (to provide equitable access, to address the issues of concern to the community, such as environmental degradation) partnerships with student and other campus organizations (to enhance accessibility, meet students’ current and anticipated needs, and support institutional strategies) and ultimately a partnership with the (natural, built, or human) context of the library.
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