By: Nor Edzan Che Nasir (Ph.D.), Immediate Past President PPM; and Chief Editor Berita PPM and Jurnal PPM, 2018/2020

On 9 June 2020, Librarian IDEAS went online for the tenth time for their Sembang Santai from 10.00 to 11.30 am. The Forum this time was different with many firsts – the first time Librarian IDEAS collaborated with the Malaysian Public Universities Council of Chief Librarians, the first time the Forum is conducted purely in English and the first time Librarian IDEAS invited an international speaker. The panellists for Sembang Santai Series 11 were Ms. Sue Owen, Director, Library and Learning Spaces, Federation University Australia and Ms. Mazmin Mat Akhir, Chief Librarian, Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMaP). Federation University Australia was formed when the former University of Ballarat and the Gippsland Campus of Monash University were amalgamated. UniMaP is a public university in the northern most state of Perlis. The moderator was Dr. Mohd. Faizal Hamzah from the University of Malaya Library.

Sembang Santai Series 10

The Forum began with both panellists greeting their virtual audience and introducing themselves. The questions posed to both panellists revolved around how academic libraries in Australia and Malaysia respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both panellists responded to the following questions:

  1. The importance of having a soft-landing to the reopening of the physical libraries around the world.
  2. Preparations undertaken by academic libraries in Australia and Malaysia in order to provide safe spaces for their users.
  3. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) used by academic libraries.
  4. The type of online services provided by the respective libraries during the pandemic.
  5. The impact of social media during the pandemic.
  6. The change of information-seeking behavior among their library users.
  7. The promotion of e-resources to the university community and the biggest challenge faced.
  8. New roles of library staff during the pandemic. 
  9. The way in which the libraries address the technological gaps that might exist among staff and users.
  10. Lessons learned from the pandemic for librarians worldwide.

In conclusion, both panellists felt that academic libraries have responded well to the COVID-19 pandemic. Libraries and librarians have had numerous experiences which should be shared.

Please go to the Librarian I.D.E,A.S. Facebook to watch the recording of Sembang Santai: Series 10 (


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