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15 Sep 2020

Library Services Strategy during the Covid-19 Pandemic

Jakarta - Library functions according to the mandate of Law no. 43 of 2007 concerning Library, namely as a vehicle for education, research, information, preservation, and recreation, which ultimately aims to increase intelligence and empowerment of the nation. It can be said that the library acts as a center for lifelong learning in the community. Library services that are generally used by users among them, circulation and reference service, which are usually accessed directly by visiting the library building. However, during the current pandemic, with various limitations, libraries are required to innovate in serving users so that they can still provide excellent service as normal condition. "After the pandemic, everything changed," said Titiek Kismiyati, Senior Librarian, when she was a speaker at the Webinar "25 Years of Visiting Library Day and Reading Fondness Month", Tuesday (9/15).

"There are several things that must be considered regarding the principles of library services during a pandemic, namely library services should remain open with due regard to the policies and status of the Covid-19 area that have been established by the government so that libraries do not become new transmission clusters, the health of library personnel and users is a priority, libraries play a role in driving the community's economy, and libraries develop cooperation with many parties," explained Titiek. She further explained there are three strategies that can be applied by libraries in accordance with the condition of a library area, namely face-to-face, face-to-face and non-face-to-face, and virtual.

Libraries that are in the green and yellow zones can still implement face-to-face library services, but on a limited basis. These limited services are implemented in accordance with applicable health protocols, namely temperature measurement, use of mask, provision of hand sanitizers/hand washing places and soap, distance restriction, reduction of users’ capacity, spraying disinfectant, and quarantine of library collections after being returned for 3 (three) days.

The second strategy can be applied to libraries in the green and yellow zones. The services provided consist of onsite services -as in the first strategy- and online. Thus, libraries must develop library resources that support online services, such as by providing digital collections, creating online library service delivery innovations, and providing internet and wifi networks.

The third strategy, namely virtual services is implemented in libraries in the orange and red zones, where the risk of Covid-19 transmission is high. Libraries must use media that allows users to take advantage of library services without having to come to the library, cooperate with other libraries because it is impossible for a library to have all the collections needed, as well as other institutions in terms of sending collections. Therefore, in addition to improve librarian competence, libraries must also strengthen digital services, namely in terms of providing collections, circulation service, references, and organizing online activities.

"It is a necessity in the digital era that more library services will be available online and even though the pandemic has passed, services like this will develop more," concluded Titiek.

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