Zoom video conference : COVID-19's effect on libraries and aftermath

On April 18, 2020, the Nepal Library Association (NLA) with technical assistance from Mr. Bishnu Aryal, V.C. office TU organized a Zoom video conference to bring Library and Information Service (LIS) professionals together and share their ideas and best practices to continue LIS services after COVID-19 pandemic's effect on every part of life and academia, More than 20 institutions' LIS professionals actively participated and presented their ideas on using communication technology to reach out to their patrons and institutions. Many of the participants shared their latest and exemplary services that they started and the impact of the services. As the LIS and resources are the backbone of any academic institution where teaching, learning and research activities get support from.


All the participants expressed views from different perspective but it sounded the same strong point in unison that because of the COVID-19 consequences, the paradigm of traditional teaching learning will totally shift from physical proximity in-person base to online and distance mode. Considering the futuristic shift in the mode of academic engagements, the conference agreed upon that high amount of online resources will have to be subscribed, managed and disseminated by the parent institutions to their academic institutions and patrons within and beyond their network and affiliation. In addition to that, the participants voiced to form a consortium of universities, academic and research institutions to contribute funds for sharing the subscription charges to procure online databases, journals and books which will significantly reduce the per-capita institutional expenses while maintaining the access to the resources. However, it is far from being reality in Nepal, but it is the demand of the time now.


Another possible service, the participants discussed was As the COVID's effect, libraries will have fewer in-person visitors and the librarians and information professionals will have to provide reading materials in electronic formats through their library's websites. The participants also suggested that Nepal Library Association, Tribhuvan University Central library and Ministry of Education should play a leading & vital role in purchasing and acquiring online books and other e-resources, provide links and disseminate them through a common network and site for the libraries, institutions and patrons so that the libraries would not suffer for want of necessary of e-resources. There is strong need of relevant and authentic e-resources to have the online classes. Since universities are preparing for organizing online classes, the demand for e-resources will be high starting from the near future. The conference was organized by NLA, TUCL and TU. Exploring the possible measures for more library services will be discussed in the coming online conferences.


The participants of the conference were Mr. I.P.Adhikari, president of NLA, Mr. Bishnu Aryal, senior officer of the V.C. office Tribhuvan University, Ms. Lila Nyaichyai, Lecturer T.U. Central dept. of Library and Information Science, Mr. Yadav Niraula, undersecretary, GoN. Ministry of Education, Mr. Bishwa Gautam, American Embassy, Ms. Reshma Dangol, Information Professional SAARC secretariat, Mr. Mahesh Khanal, President of TULSSAA, Mr. Sudeep Dhakal, Vice-President of  NLA, Ms. Chandra Kiran Shrestha, RECPHEC, Mr. Chandra Bhusan Yadav, NHRC, Mr.Kishor Subedi, Prithvi Narayan Campus Pokhara, Mr. Surya Chhetri, Forestry Campus Pokhara, Mr. Govinda Chaulagai, NLA Hetauda, Ms. Anita Bhandari, Ace college, Ms. Anita Bhattarai, RR Campus, Ms.Rita Sharma, NLA, and few others behind the screen. Altogether more than 20 professional librarians took part in the zoom video conference.