The necessity to switch from analogue to digital in so much day-to-day living has been the overarching experience of the COVID lockdown for many of the UK population. This project explores “the digital turn” and how compelled use of digital services during COVID lockdown and beyond has impacted one specific sector, namely public libraries across the UK. In doing so it considers issues that have been faced in other public and private organisations across society because of the lockdown, such as

(1) privacy and ethical issues in the utilisation of digital in the spaces that were previously overtly analogue in nature,

(2) linked issues of digital exclusion and ensuring equity of access, and

(3) how information behaviours have adapted and/or been impacted across age groups and other societal demographics.

The project runs from December 2020 until February 2022 and is based in the Department of Computer and Information Sciences at the University of Strathclyde.

This project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) under the UKRI’s COVID-19 Rapid Response programme.

The project is managed by Dr. David McMenemy (Principal Investigator), Prof. Ian Ruthven (Co-Investigator) and Dr. Elaine Robinson (Research Associate)