Libraries in the time of Covid: Crete University Library

What is your name and title, where do you work, and what kind of patrons do you normally have?

My name is Konstantinos Papadakis. I am a librarian and I work in Special Collection department of the library of University of Crete. The users of our library are university professors, students, researchers, scholars and citizens from local community.

The Crete University Library reading-room

How has your institution been affected by COVID-19?

i) In the beginning of Covid crisis in Greece March 20 to June 15, the Library, as a gathering place for individuals, remained closed to the public. The staff of the library was working in situ and from home the vulnerable members.

ii) On 15th of June 2020, the library reopened to serve only borrowing material (by appointment) and returning material for the members of the Institution only. The users were not permitted to stay in the Library building (the studying areas and all the service points remained closed for the public). Services was offered from the Library reception, showing necessarily their university identity card. Users were entering from different entrance and exiting from another, with all the necessary measures (protective mask, 2 m, distance from each other etc.) In this period all Library’s electronic resources are normally accessible remotely, for all University of Crete members who are connected to the Internet via the Foundation’s VPN network.

iii) Finally, the second pandemic wave, the library closed again for the public (4th of November until today).

What happened in your country during the Covid crisis and how did it affected your library/institution?

The lockdown (March-June & November-today) was a government decision. Libraries, and schools are closed for the users/students. On December 17-18 the 26th national Conference of Academic Libraries will take place through web. Topic: “The role of libraries during special conditions”. The program and abstracts are available online.

Entrance

If you have been working from home, what kind of projects have you been working on? With what tools/organisation?

In the 1st period of lockdown we were working via a VPN connection. We were mainly doing cataloguing.

Did your institution change its priorities/projects for the next few months/years?

I am afraid that we just look the next day during this pandemic period…

Desk with plexiglas protections

Do you think the crisis will affect your way of working in the long term?

I think this crisis accelerates chances that are in progress e.g. teleworking and web teaching. Moreover, it gives us the opportunity to develop services from distance e.g. free digital material on line etc.


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