Related product Collections Management

A Snapshot of Our Preservation / Conservation Response to COVID-19 at CARLI Member Libraries

Project Overview:

Earlier this year, as the coronavirus pandemic became a global crisis, CARLI member libraries like many libraries throughout the country faced new challenges. From the closure of physical locations to navigating transitions to remote and contactless environments, safely meeting the shifting needs of our communities became a priority and a new way of life. We faced the task of continuously maintaining awareness of new and emerging research about COVID-19. Libraries aligned policies with quickly changing federal and state health and safety guidelines as well as institutional policies. While many can acknowledge it has been quite a challenge, it has also been an opportunity to reflect and rethink the way we provide services to our communities in a changing world.

In that spirit, this year the CARLI Preservation Committee is gathering snapshots from the diverse range of perspectives of CARLI member institutions to explore various responses to the pandemic. With specific institutional action, impacts on preservation practices, and keeping up with developing information, we hope that these snapshots will provide the broadest range of responses to shed some light on how our work can continue as well as to provide a record of how libraries responded during this unprecedented time.

- Meghan Ryan, Special Collections and Cataloging Librarian, National Louis University

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

In this interview, Will Schlaack, Digital Reformatting Coordinator, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, asks Jennifer Hain Teper, Head of Preservation Services at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign about her experiences as the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library responds to COVID-19.

DePaul University

Nora Gabor, Rare Books Librarian at DePaul University asks her colleague Kyle Henke, Digital Archivist at DePaul University to share his experiences as DePaul University Library responds to COVID-19. Henke additionally describes how he virtually stays connected with digital preservation practitioners during the pandemic.

Chicago History Museum

Melina Avery, Conservator at the University of Chicago, asks Ellen Keith, the Director of Research and Access and Chief Librarian at the Chicago History Museum to discuss her experiences with having staff work from home, continuing to interact and answer questions from the public, and moving projects forward during the pandemic.

Lake Forest College

Meghan Ryan, Special Collections and Cataloging Librarian at National Louis University, asks Anne Thomason, Associate Director of the Library and Head of Archives and Special Collections at Lake Forest College to discuss her library's response to COVID-I9 and how they helped patrons when the college went to a remote learning model in March and for the Fall Semester.

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Susan Howell, Cataloging and Metadata Librarian at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, invites Susan Tulis, Associate Dean, and Marissa Ellermann, Head of Circulation Services, to discuss Morris Library's response to COVID-I9. Learn how preservation and conservation, reference, and circulation activities were able to continue as well as other services, with safety modifications.

Northern Illinois University

Mary Burns, Special Collections Catalog Librarian, Northern Illinois University, asks Leanne VandeCreek, Associate Dean for Public Services (and Acting Associate Dean for Collections Management until September 1, 2020), Sarah McHone-Chase, Head of User Services and Faculty Librarian, and Susan Kapost, Head of the Technical Services Preservation Section, to discuss their library's response to COVID-19. Described are preservation activities during the closure, circulation activities including special handling of materials and contactless pickup, as well as access decisions for collections and facilities.

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

Tonia Grafakos, Marie A. Quinlan Director of Preservation at Northwestern University, asks Bonnie Parr, Historical Documents Conservator at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (ALPLM), to discuss how the Presidential Library responded to COVID-19 and how the pandemic affected operations and patron interactions. Bonnie Parr and her colleagues share their accomplishments while working remotely and services they wish to continue as pandemic restrictions are lifted.

Project Wrap-up

Becky Koch, Conservation and Preservation Specialist, Illinois State University, wraps up the Preservation Committee's 2020-2021 annual project by identifying the themes that have shown through among the Snapshots and highlighting the skills we have developed through adversity.