On March 9th, as the university was preparing for the possibility that we might need to close campus and shift to remote learning, I wrote to the LTS community. Here is part of what I said:
We in LTS play a special role here at Lehigh. For, while we will be impacted personally and professionally (if Lehigh’s campus closes), we are also Lehigh's experts when it comes to the use of technology to conduct the academic and administrative functions of the university. As such, we have a special responsibility to keep our systems running and to do all we can to support the many faculty, students, families, and staff members who rely on us. With that in mind, I want to thank you for the work you are already doing—and thank you in advance for the important work you will be asked to do in the days ahead.
Several days later, Lehigh announced that all instruction and work would be remote for the remainder of the semester. It was a hard day when we closed Linderman and Fairchild Martindale Libraries. I wrote to the campus community, saying, among other things that
All libraries aspire to be open, safe, supportive, inspiring sites for the university community to study, conduct academic research, receive expert guidance, and engage socially with colleagues. We in LTS take great pride in creating those spaces for all of you. But in light of ever-stronger recommendations from federal, state, local, and Lehigh health authorities regarding the importance of maintaining social distance wherever possible, I'm confident that closing the library is the right decision. Despite these changes, we are still here to help.
In the following pages, I offer a report on how we in Library and Technology Services were still there to help.
You’ll find stories of how we partnered with faculty, students, and staff across campus during the rapid transition to remote learning in spring 2020; how we helped maintain academic and business continuity throughout spring and summer; and how we helped Lehigh reopen and prepare for fall 2020.
Some LTS staff were among those who continued to come into campus even during the campus shutdown. In August, as we reopened our physical libraries, more of us came to campus to prepare study spaces, to upgrade classroom technology, and to provide in-person support for our on-campus students. But most of us, like many of you, continue to work remotely and will continue to do so through fall and into spring. This is all to say that, even during this pandemic, whether on campus or remote, we have remained true to our mission: to provide leadership, expertise, and support to Lehigh’s faculty, students, and staff as we work together to educate students, conduct research, produce and disseminate scholarship, and conduct the business of the university. In short, we aspire to help all Lehigh faculty, students, and staff be at their best. Thank you in advance for reading. I hope you will get a good overview of the kind of work we do.
If you find an example of the wonderful things Lehigh faculty, students, and staff do with our help and you are inspired to partner with us, reach out to me or any one of us and we’ll figure out how we can help.
Greg Reihman, Ph.D.
Vice Provost for Library and Technology Services
Director, Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning