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#LibraryStrong: How American University Library is Adapting Amid COVID-19

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National Library Week is an annual celebration honoring the contributions of Libraries. This year’s theme is “Find Your Place at The Library.” The theme was chosen before COVID-19 upended our world. The American Library Association emphasizes that we can still find our place at the Library.

While we continue to navigate unchartered territory, American University Library is still the place for academic support for the AU Community. Although our physical doors have temporarily closed, we are still working to provide academic support remotely. Internally, our staff has implemented several workflow management systems, including Asana and Microsoft Teams, to collaborate and work on projects remotely.

We have moved all our services online and are working collaboratively to make this transition as seamless as possible. We have created a new approach to search the catalog – this strategy retrieves only online electronic resources, thus creating a direct path to materials that are available to students. The Subject Librarians are available to provide virtual research assistance through 24/7 chat. Students can also make individual appointments with their subject specialist. The media and music departments remain available for assistance to stream items in our collection online using standard American University log-in credentials. Digitized versions of items in our archives and past exhibits are also available to view online, including The Patrick Frazier Political and Social Movements Collection and The Bill Gentile Digital Photo Collection.

The Library has also launched a new series #SoundBitesAtHome, where music lovers can post a short video of a musical performance at home, whether playing an instrument or singing or both! Performers can tag the Library in their performance for a chance to be posted on our social media platforms. This is a virtual extension of our Music Library Sound Bites series, a lunchtime concert series held in the Katzen Arts Center. One of our featured performers was Professor Rogério Naressi, of the College of Arts and Sciences.

We know these are trying times, but we hope our online endeavors bring support and comfort during these unprecedented times. We will remain #LibraryStrong.