The 2020-2021 academic year was challenging. The COVID-19 pandemic started in Spring of 2020, so WOU began the academic year with almost entirely remote learning. Academic Innovation was just forming as a new unit, and their first task was to support the shift to online learning while also implementing a campus transition from Moodle to Canvas. The Library, unlike many academic library peers, opened to WOU students, staff and faculty for in person services during regular business hours while also providing robust remote services. This was also the year when WOU laid off significant numbers of Classified and Unclassified staff and exercised Article 15 of the WOUFT contract in an effort to align the university’s expenditures with it’s reduced budget and reduced student enrollment. LAI was impacted by these cuts, as were all other departments on campus.
Throughout this year of remote work, remote learning, and constant transition, LAI met as a full staff in monthly Strategic Planning Meetings. Those meetings allowed us to explore our new identity as Library AND Academic Innovation. By the beginning of the 2021-2022 academic year, we were ready to reemerge as a new entity, with a new mission, vision, and values. Our About Us page was subsequently updated in October 2020, after our first Strategic Planning meeting of the year. This was the first time the Hamersly Library mission had been updated since 2005, so it felt like a big achievement!