Introduction There are few moments in life permanently etched in our minds—“flashbulb memories” that highlight where we were at the time of a chaotic event. The modern “shot heard ’round the world” happened on March 13, 2020, when the landscape of the world shifted with the onset of a global pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on the health care industry was glaring, but what about the changes in education, particularly for libraries? A silver lin- ing of this historic turbulence was the newfound accessibility of education through distance learning, but the transition to an online learning environ- ment was challenging for patrons, staff, and teachers at all institutions and libraries, including university, special, school, and public systems. But ser- vice institutions tend to persevere in this book, we showcase the experi- ences of diverse librarians who were and are facilitating a helpful and inclusive online learning environment. Changes are inevitable—the switch to primarily online learning would likely have occurred eventually as we accelerate into a fully digital age—but the COVID-19 pandemic hastened this change, adding a new layer of chal- lenges to student-faculty relationships. It prompted the utilization of digital learning platforms, which created a learning atmosphere previously unfa- miliar to a majority of teachers, faculty, and librarians. This book highlights the ever-changing roles of librarians during this unprecedented time of mon- umental change in library infrastructures, partnerships, and access to mate- rials. The weight of the pandemic on all populations was a heavy one, with many concerned about loved ones while dealing with job loss and an uncer- tain economy. Many people also were deprived of the typical school, college, or work experience. Despite all of the challenges posed by COVID-19, libraries found ways to connect patrons to services and helped foster com- munities of compassion. With the promise of vaccines and an ongoing search for a cure, educators armed themselves with masks and Zoom to give
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