Aligned but not integrated:UK academic library support to mental health and well-being during COVID-19

Cox, Andrew and Brewster, Liz (2022) Aligned but not integrated:UK academic library support to mental health and well-being during COVID-19. Library Management, 43 (1). pp. 108-127. ISSN 0143-5124

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To discover how UK academic libraries sought to support student mental health and well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic The data was from a 24-question survey of UK universities distributed in May 2021 which received 56 responses from 47 different Higher Education Institution libraries. Descriptive statistics are combined with thematic analysis of open text comments. Libraries were undertaking a wide range of activities, targeted chiefly at students and broadcast via Twitter, other social media, and library web sites. The problem being addressed was the stresses of studying in the context of the pivot online and isolation caused by social distancing. Digital well-being seemed also to be an increased concern. COVID-19 had proved the value of digital support but created a number of challenges such as loss of physical space, communication barriers and lack of extra resource. The role had a somewhat informal place in the organisation. Overall library activities were aligned but not strongly integrated into institutional efforts. This was a study in one specific national context with a relatively limited number of total responses. There could be a non-response bias where respondents were doing more than was typical in the sector. The paper is one of the first papers to gather sector wide data and move beyond case studies of what individual libraries do to support to mental health and well-being. It also offers a case study of the impacts of COVID-19 on management pointing to its catalyzing the digital shift, creating constraints on resources and communication, and prompting the emergence of staff well-being as a consideration in management decision making.

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Journal Article
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Library Management
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14 Dec 2021 10:35
Last Modified:
19 Sep 2023 02:43