IRRT | 2022-2023 IRRT Chair's Theme

The New Normal for Libraries Around the Globe 2022-2023

Safi Safiullah
Safi Safiullah, IRRT Chair, 2022-2023

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused libraries, like every workplace, to adapt to new and dynamic situations. This has particularly affected libraries, as they are some of the only remaining public institutions that can provide services to community members who need help with literacy and other services. This is why the main theme for my tenure as IRRT chair will be "The New Normal for Libraries around the Globe 2022-2023."

New activities and community programs came to action during this pandemic. These activities and services include virtual classrooms and story time, online tutorial sessions, and research support to help build digitally inclusive communities. Even as we move beyond the pandemic, these services are emerging as normal with a sense of permanence. Librarians around the globe have worked tirelessly to add these new resources and programs on top of their regular activities and library services.

These added activities have stressed librarians psychologically and physically. Aside from adjusting services to meet these new community needs, librarians are faced with new challenges in the socio-economic realities that we face today. Librarians and administrations are rewriting library policies to address EDI, social justice, and personal issues. It is imperative that we support one another as we adapt to these dynamic circumstances. Under the heading of a"New Normal," we will discuss these topics in the upcoming IRRT sessions, throughout my 2022-2023 tenure.

This theme can encompass many discussions on topics including but not limited to:

  1. How have post-Covid policies affected librarians psychologically and physically? How can we most effectively support librarians in their workplaces, as library policies adapt so that they can continue to provide services to the community?
  2. How are library administrations creating new policies to transition libraries into a post-COVID era? What obstacles are they facing in creating policies to keep buildings open during times of labor shortage, demand for improved EDI policies, and calls for greater social justice efforts in their organization?


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