Welcome to our University of Minnesota Libraries 2020 Annual Report, where we present highlights from our year.
This has been a year of transitions for me and the Libraries. I became Dean of Libraries and University Librarian in late February. Just two weeks later, in response to the pandemic caused by COVID-19, our library buildings closed — yet many of our services remained open, because of our creative staff and our investments in online resources.
Our librarians quickly adapted to online teaching, preparing presentations even as we were getting ready to close our buildings in March. Support for researchers continued remotely. Our patrons were able to take advantage of emergency temporary access to many of our holdings through the HathiTrust Digital Library.
Our service has been exemplary. Even though our Interlibrary Loan [ILL] had to pause lending and borrowing physical materials as nearly all libraries shuttered for a while, digital lending and borrowing continued to meet many researchers’ needs. Since physical material lending resumed in September, our staff developed creative ways to get books and other materials to patrons — including through ILL, deliveries to residence halls, by U.S. Mail, and via digital delivery.
In September, we kicked off our strategic planning process. We intend to complete the plan in May and begin implementation in July.
Our work in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion continued and following the killing of George Floyd, we created the Racial Equity Collections Fund, won an NEH grant for our Mapping Prejudice project, and drafted a statement that articulates our commitment to Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access.
Everyone in the Libraries has been creative and responsive under difficult circumstances this year. I am proud of all they have been able to accomplish. Looking ahead, we will face challenges, yet we will continue to move forward, together.
University Librarian and Dean of Libraries
McKnight Presidential Professor