ICOLC Statement on the Global COVID-19 Pandemic and Its Impact on Library Services and Resources
This statement, written on behalf of the many library consortia across the world that participate in ICOLC (International Coalition of Library Consortia), and the individual libraries these consortia represent, has two purposes. It is intended to help publishers and other content providers from whom we license electronic information resources and purchase printed content (hereafter simply referred to as publishers) understand better how the current global COVID-19 pandemic affects the worldwide information community. Its second purpose is to suggest a range of approaches that we believe are in the mutual best interest of libraries and the providers of information services.
The ICOLC participating consortia consider the current crisis of such significance that we cannot simply assume that libraries and publishers share a common perspective about the magnitude of the crisis and the best approaches to cope with it. ICOLC members have been exchanging perspectives about how the global COVID-19 pandemic will impact consortia and their member libraries.
At this time according to UNESCO, partial or complete university and school closures in 49 countries have canceled or suspended classes for 391 million students.
Many college and university students will be completing the current academic term in an entirely on-line format, so the campus communities can practice social distancing as recommended by the World Health Organization and many other national and global health agencies.
We encourage publishers to work together with consortia and libraries for the benefit of all communities. Library consortia are uniquely positioned to be the most effective and efficient means to preserve the customer base for publishers and create solutions that provide the greatest good for the greatest number.
It is in the best interest of both publishers and consortia to seek creative solutions that allows critical access to publisher content for the research and public health communities.
In combination, we suggest these approaches as a way to advance the conversations among libraries, consortia, and publishers, who all hope to provide as much information as possible to the users who need it. We believe our recommendations provide a solid foundation for the information community, including the publishers of scholarly information, to go forward together in these difficult times.
ICOLC Coordinating Committee Members:
Publishers temporarily lifting access restrictions (Bronze Open Access) on content related to COVID-19 -- all resources below are freely-accessible as of 3.13.2020