The sudden global epidemiological outbreak in early spring 2020 challenged the academic libraries’ Access and Resource Sharing (ARS) department and prevented staff from providing the types of essential services that its users expect and require. With the full closure of campus and all courses moving online within a week, ARS staff were put on the front lines of finding ways to continue providing patrons with access to the library’s physical collections while library buildings were closed.
This paper details how the ARS community and a large research university library’s ARS department responded and adapted to these rapid changes, acted creatively, and reinvented services through collaboration, creative solutions, grantseeking, and technology renovation. ARS staff continued to test a scan-beside-the-stacks methodology through a grant-funded project to create an Interlibrary Loan (ILL) mobile cart. This mobile cart allowed for a single employee to handle all items to complete the digital conversion of print materials and reduced the risk of coronavirus transfer between library staff members during the COVID-19 pandemic. An on-demand book digitization program in collaboration with multiple departments opened up access to resources to effectively fulfill patrons’ needs. Through these and other adaptations, ARS staff retained their professional commitment to provide materials and a high level of services to their users.
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