IATUL 2023 Slides




The presentation seeks to examine academic librarians’ support of information technology’s application to provide digital library services and resources during the COVID-19 pandemic in academic libraries based in the Gauteng Province of South Africa. In 2020-2021, these academic libraries introduced new library services and digitised most of their resources to enable online access. These academic libraries embraced the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to ensure that teaching, learning and research do not halt. Embracing IoT and AI caused academic libraries’ spaces to become irrelevant. This research is anchored in the pragmatism paradigm through a sequential explanatory research design used to determine the extent to which service delivery had to change to cater to the information needs of users. Even though academic libraries made efforts to ensure that the mission and the objectives of the universities are carried out regardless of the imposed COVID-19 restrictions, users experienced challenges pertaining to poor network connectivity, affordability to acquire internet data and the lack of compatible gadgets such as laptops, tablets and smartphones. The use of hard copies also dropped as users focused more on digital resources and services on institutional repositories, library websites and scholarly databases. Results indicated that full-text journal articles, book excerpts, e-books and e-reserves became preferred resources. Furthermore, users required improved communication through library websites, social media and e-mails. The demand for training increased, enhancing the need for well-designed and user-friendly interfaces where library collections and other library services could be accessed as per user requirements. Results of the research emanated in a proposed framework that can be used to increase service delivery opportunities for academic libraries should pandemics such as COVID-19 influence future service delivery demands.

Publication Date


Conference Name

IATUL 2023: 43rd International Association of University Libraries Annual Conference. Dubai & Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (March 13-16, 2023)


Library and Information Science


Academic Libraries, Artificial Intelligence, COVID-19, Information Technology, Internet of Things, Service Delivery