(23 Apr 2020) Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) becomes a global pandemic. WHO said that every country has a responsibility to increase their level of preparedness, alertness and response to identify, manage and care for new cases of COVID-19 (WHO, 2020). Indonesia confirmed the first coronavirus case at the end of February 2020. Since the President’s declaration of COVID-19’s of the first case in Indonesia, the government has taken serious measures to track the virus spread. The fast spread of the virus has resulted in a significant number of the death toll and provoked national fears in the country. Meanwhile, fake news and negative opinion on social media and the internet have drown the official news or guidance from the government.
Following the guidance from the government and WHO, the National Library of Indonesia (NLI) as an institution related to information and knowledge, has taken active steps to stop the spread of COVID-19 and the fears brought about by it. NLI has closed from 16 March to 21 April 2020. Library services, meetings, seminars, exhibitions, and other public activities have been suspended.
Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana (BNPB) said that every person must follow the development of Corona Virus COVID-19 (BNPB, 2020). Librarians as information agents have the responsibility to share valid and positive information to the public through the library services. To maintain its library services in this critical situation, NLI would provide digital and online library services. NLI librarians, as agents of change have also take action to spread valid and trusted information about COVID-19 via NLI website and their personal social media. NLI has set out five actions to support the national programs through digital and online library services.
1. Digital Library Services via iPusnas Mobile Application
Supporting the social or physical distancing and self-quarantine program, NLI has digital library services to keep providing reading service through digital library applications. iPusnas is a digital library application for smart phone or desktopand has more than 40.000 titles of electronic books collection. iPusnas also has a user-friendly interface and allows users to read e-books offline. Users can register with email or use Facebook to create an iPusnas account. iPusnas allows users to borrow 1-3 books for 7 days. It also has some e-books reads recommended by librarians or other users to keep updated of new books or any books related to the current situation.
2. Subscribed Digital Collection
NLI also has a digital library service to support the national program to Work from Home (WfH). WfH means the public can continue to be productive with their work virtually during the self-quarantine period. It also supports users by providing academic resources from the digital collection. NLI has subscribed to more than 40 electronic publishers that provide academic collections such as e-books, journals, articles, or other e-resources. To use this service, user needs to register their library membership online through the official website https://keanggotaan.perpusnas.go.id/. Users can then access the electronic resources through the official website www.perpusnas.go.id or http://e-resources.perpusnas.go.id/ for free. The service allows the public to follow the latest development on the virus pandemic.
3. Online Reference Service
NLI has a reference service for researchers or users who need help from the librarians on their research. For on-site service, users can go to the 15th floor to meet the librarian to discuss their information needs. During the self-quarantine period, users can use the virtual reference service which is an online reference service via ‘Ask A Librarian’ feature in www.perpusnas.go.id. Librarians can help users online through the NLI’s official website. This reference service gives more interactive experience that allows discussion between the user and the reference librarian online.
4. Ask the Librarian
Ask the librarian is a simple and interactive online service that allows users to chat with librarians through the National Library official website. This service is different from the online reference service. Librarian can help users to use all of the online library services, such as online registration, how to use iPusnas, how to do use e-resources, etc. This service also helps users to confirm news, data, rumors, or other information from the internet or social media. Librarians through this service can guide the user directly by a chat and discuss the right information especially on Coronavirus in Indonesia.
5. Librarian as Information Agent
The other action from the NLI to support the national programs is to make librarians as one of the core information agents amid the nation’s fear on Coronavirus. The role of librarian amid this Coronavirus pandemic is not just providing online library services. As the librarian in the 5.0 era or modern society, the librarian has a major role in society to spread the right information. The Internet makes so many possible things for the librarian to do. Every librarian can create their platform in society especially via social media. Through their social media, the librarian can help their circle to share information and knowledge and reduce the public fears about Coronavirus. Librarians in NLI actively share information, knowledge, or campaign to help the government through Instagram (stories and feeds), Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook, YouTube, and private blog. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also said to know where to find local information of COVID-19 and local trends of COVID-19 cases. Following CDC’s statement, the librarian can coincide their action with the government such as promote the government’s official information source about COVID-19. (CDC, 2019). Librarians can also collaborate with a social community on providing information and knowledge sharing.
Since COVID-19 outbreak is still affecting Indonesia, NLI has asked all the librarians to install COVID-19 tracer named pedulilindungi.id to be able to anticipate and identify people with COVID-19 and suspects.