When we did the research for the New Model Library: Pandemic Effects and Library Directions briefing, a term that came up often was “normal” (Is this change part of a new normal? When will this activity get back to normal?). While interesting, these questions don’t acknowledge that libraries are incredibly diverse in terms of culture, size, type, goals, and locations. And the term “normal” isn’t really helpful without additional context. At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic is a singular, global upheaval that affects everyone who works at and uses libraries.
So how do we discuss the impact this global upheaval is having on a set of very different institutions and individuals and their plans for the future?