Libraries before the health crisis of 2020-21 : results of a survey of winning libraries and finalists for the Social Library Foundation Award

Objectives: The activities and services provided by libraries since the beginning of the pandemic have been documented in numerous accounts that, since March 2020, have reported on actions and difficulties and, more recently, have discussed the role of the library in the post-Covid era. This article aims to contribute to this debate by providing the results of a survey carried out with libraries that have been awarded the Fundación Biblioteca Social award or have qualified as finalists.

Methodology: A questionnaire with open- and closed-ended questions was developed and disseminated among the 33 libraries in May 2021, obtaining responses from 24 of them, at a response rate of 70.6%.

Results: The main results point to the difficulties experienced in the course of the pandemic in delivering services and maintaining relationships with users, highlighting the great dependence on technology. Conflicting experiences and opinions were reported regarding the success of the actions aimed at maintaining relationships with users. Finally, there is notable agreement around the need to rethink the role of the library in today's society and to collaborate with institutions and other social agents.