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Revista Cubana de Información en Ciencias de la Salud

On-line version ISSN 2307-2113


DE S.C.TANUS, Gabrielle Francinne  and  SANCHEZ-TARRAGO, Nancy. Activities and challenges of Brazilian university libraries during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rev. cuba. inf. cienc. salud [online]. 2020, vol.31, n.3, e1615.  Epub Oct 30, 2020. ISSN 2307-2113.

In a context marked by the worsening of the global social, economic and political crisis, the emergency caused by COVID-19 and the adoption of extraordinary measures of social distance and quarantine, new challenges are imposed on libraries. In this scenario, the purpose of this paper was to characterize the activities of the Brazilian university libraries, as well as the main challenges to keep them functioning through remote products and services, from the perspective of librarians. A survey of data is carried out through online questionnaires and a quantitative and qualitative analysis of 188 responses from participants linked to 64 higher education institutions, from all Brazilian regions. Almost all respondent libraries have implemented remote working, using information and communication technologies (with emphasis on social networks), to carry out reference services, disseminate information, as well as to offer access to databases. Technical processes and development of collections are carried out as well, albeit with some limitations. Some libraries have created specific support services for research on COVID-19. Main challenges are related to the sudden shift from personal attendance and face-to-face work, to remote working and virtual attendance, without prior preparation (performance protocols, infrastructure, professional skills). Reopening of libraries is another major challenge, since it includes changes in facilities, protective equipment, and hygiene protocols. It is concluded that university libraries have activities and challenges going beyond pure technical aspects, including ethical and political dimensions looking forward to building better societies.

Keywords : Pandemic; COVID-19; Academic library; Professional work.

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