Management Practice Changes in Academic Library Technical Services Departments during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Sean P. Kennedy, Melanie J. McGurr


The COVID-19 pandemic brought about many unexpected changes for academic libraries. Technical services departments were especially disrupted due to the nature of their responsibilities and library operations. In response to these pandemic-induced changes, technical services managers were tasked with maintaining a high level of operations while also navigating sudden workforce changes including evolving job demands and employees working off-site. This study documents and analyzes the responses of technical services managers during the pandemic. Documenting these practice changes will help inform current managers looking to compare themselves to peers and future managers who may experience a similar event that causes a sudden shift in operations. Overall, managers reported a high incidence of change to their typical management practices. Managers made the biggest changes in communications and practices related to work-life balance. A significant theme emerged from the analysis that shows technical services managers adding several new practices to support and care for the mental health of employees.

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