In March 2020 when the impact of the pandemic was starting to become clear, the Library and Knowledge Services at Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust closed the physical library space and the team began to work from home.  Many of the services we were running were carrying on as before; with the Trust being spread over a large geographical area we’d been delivering some services virtually or remotely for a long time.

During this time the library space was unavailable to library staff and users and we were very happy to regain access to the space in 2022. We wanted to know if the pandemic had changed the way library users had accessed the library services, and how they would like to access the library now. Would library users want to visit the library in person in the post-covid world? Would users want anything to change with the space?

In November 2022 we launched a survey to investigate this, and it ran for 4 weeks. The survey was sent to library champions, library users, to our colleagues on the library site, and also advertised in Trustwide communications. A reminder was sent 2 weeks after the launch.

49 people responded to the survey and the main findings were:

  • The pandemic did affect how some used library and knowledge services but most of those who used to access the library in person adapted to using virtual services
  • Many new staff weren’t aware there was a library, despite library and knowledge services presence in the virtual inductions
  • Respondents would like the library to have quiet working space and space for them to attend virtual meetings
  • Respondents want the library to be a comfortable environment with access to beverages and refreshments

The findings highlight the need to continuously market the service, particularly to any staff who started working in the Trust since the start of the pandemic. We were curious if library users would want to use the physical library space as they did before the pandemic. The findings of the survey suggest that some library users would like to use the physical library space as before and use hot desks, and need access to space that allows them to attend virtual meetings

These findings will be used to do some targeted marketing and inform how we change the library space now we have access again. We are looking forward to reopening the library space very soon, as we have had to spruce it up and become ship-shape, and we hope to be able to accommodate the requirements of library users.

Heather Steele
Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust