Evaluating the impact of the pandemic on organisations is key to formulating future strategic planning. In light of this, AdvaNova instigated a Covid-19 survey for the library market in 2020 to assess the impact on budgets, Covid mitigation and optimised technology in these organisations.

In order to create a wide-ranging picture, the survey was again completed in 2022 to monitor how organisations are reacting and responding in the post-pandemic age. This feeds into a greater understanding of how libraries are adopting or changing approaches in light of Covid-19.

In 2020, the survey focused on seeking to explore the impact of the pandemic on libraries in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, following up on a curated series of AdvaNova webinars that supported organisations.

Around 88% of the respondents were academic libraries; but in truth, the results reflect a pattern being seen generally in businesses and organisations.

A clear factor influencing responses in 2020 was a feeling of uncertainty, with many organisations still showing concern around funding issues in the 2022 survey.

Covid-19 Survey Comparisons

Both surveys included a broadly similar set of respondents, with UK academic libraries being predominant.

Library Type

Budget Impacts

Information on budgets illustrated that fewer capital budgets are now being reduced, from 48% in 2020 to 36% in 2022. The data shows more confidence in the delivery of budgets with only 28% in 2022 not knowing their capital budget impact from Covid-19.

Moreover, libraries are reporting other budgetary influences, including institutional budget reductions that were in place pre-2020. Some organisations stated that extra Covid funding delivered some financial relief, whereas others are impacted by significant clawback to cover Covid expenditure.

There are other organisations declaring that changes in institutional funding and uncertain future finances are also affecting budgets.

Project Development

Unsurprisingly, there was definite uncertainty about project survival in 2020, with 50% unsure of the future of their ventures. This has decreased to just 8% in 2022, revealing more certainty in project development.

As a point of interest, we find 68% of projects planned in 2020 have since been undertaken after a Covid delay. The pandemic is still having an impact on project certainty, with 32% still being postponed in 2022.

In contrast, there were no projects cancelled in 2022 compared with 7% in 2020.

New Budgets

As libraries and their staff, students and patrons adjust to returning to work, there has been an increase in new budgets, with 72% reporting budget growth. Many organisations described that some of the key Covid measures they had implemented during the pandemic, such as desk booking, are continuing for best use of space and resources.

Covid-19 Security

The 2020 survey asked libraries what Covid-19 security measures they were putting in place as they re-opened, with the 2022 survey revisiting this question to determine what had been implemented.

Both surveys reveal similar results, but with 15% more libraries using movement flows in 2022, click and collect is operating in 13% more organisations and 17% fewer libraries are now using contactless door controls.

Ranking of Covid Security Measures

Both surveys asked organisations to rank the importance of Covid-19 security measures. The 2022 survey highlighted how libraries are relaxing these and viewing them as less significant than in 2020, such as 81% viewing hygiene stations as vital then, compared to 60% in 2022.

Optimising Technology

In 2020, we asked libraries if their technology was enabling them to adopt essential measures, while delivering flexibility to adapt to changing guidelines. In both surveys, there are similar responses; however, it’s clear that technology is facilitating more agility than previously thought.

In 2020, technology provided more online content and chat facilities. In comparison, the assets delivering best practice in 2022 are solutions such as seat booking, hygiene stations and reductions in capacity.

Nevertheless, a number of institutions told us that they have now removed all Covid restrictions in 2022.

Covid-19 2022 Survey Conclusions

Analysis of both survey results highlight how a number of the measures introduced by some organisations clearly improved the service they offer to students and patrons. Consequently, they have now been adopted as best practice moving forward, building more agile and adaptive services to benefit staff, organisations and those that use them.

If you’d like to discuss the results of our latest survey, please do reach out by visiting our contact page below. 

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Copyright 2022 @ AdvaNova

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Copyright 2022 @ AdvaNova