The role of academic libraries and information specialists during times of health crises in Jordan: the COVID-19 pandemic case

Faten Hamad*, Maha Al-Fadel, Hussam Fakhouri

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: COVID-19 forced libraries and other institutions to either close their doors to users or change their services routines. At this time, the libraries should extend their efforts to meet the increasing demands of information services in terms of quantity and quality of information services. This study aims to explore the role and responsibilities of academic libraries during times of crisis from the staff perception in academic libraries in Jordan. Design/methodology/approach: A questionnaire was disseminated to 359 library staff who were working at the 10 public universities in Jordan; 295 questionnaires were suitable to analyze, with a response rate of 82.2%. Findings: The results indicated the importance of increasing academic libraries – specifically academic libraries in Jordan – awareness about the vast and important role of libraries to support research and the public community by providing authentic information sources about the pandemic to increase public awareness about the pandemic, besides contributing to disseminating research related to the pandemic as well as producing related research. Libraries needed to adjust their collection and information services during the crisis as they looked for ways to support the users they serve. The results affirmed that access to information remains the social responsibility of librarians. Practical implications: The findings will provide insights for other academic libraries on how to react in a crisis and maintain its role as a reliable information source. Social implications: During the health pandemic, people needed support in terms of getting easy access to authentic and reliable information. Libraries hold a social responsibility to the local community, such as awareness campaigns, posting videos on health practices and hygiene on it websites and social media. Originality/value: This paper provides insights and practical solutions for academic libraries in response to global health pandemics. It will help academic libraries handle and cope with the challenges of providing distance library services over digital channels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)476-492
Number of pages17
JournalDigital Library Perspectives
Volume38
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 3 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Academic libraries
  • Academic library services
  • COVID-19
  • Digital library services
  • Library services and pandemic
  • Remote services

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Education
  • Library and Information Sciences

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