Librarians have a pivotal role when it comes to information, especially during a pandemic. Finding relevant and trustworthy information and resources around a specific topic can make the difference between life and death. Access to justice, human rights, and access to information in the time of COVID-19 is now more relevant than ever, and law librarians should be at the forefront of information dissemination.
I am one of the librarians collaborating on this initiative. This project allows me to research, analyze, and inform what the legal response to COVID-19 has been in Latin America, particularly
Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and my native Puerto Rico
. Amid a health crisis, where none of my academic credentials, training, or professional background is medical or scientific, I have questioned how I can be of service in a time like this. We must focus on what we can do rather than what we can't. I decided to volunteer my time researching, monitoring, and informing others about the legal response governments have had toward COVID-19. As we move from crisis mode to the so-called "new normal," I look forward to learning more about the legal initiatives surrounding contact tracing and testing. There is still much more to do. Information overload is a real thing. That overload usually confounds good information with bad information. In the case of legal information, the stakes can be higher and affect us all. I believe that we, as law librarians, have the skills to identify good information from the bad, and we must share our findings.
This is not the first pandemic. However, this pandemic is something we can follow and interact with in real-time from every corner of the world. Law librarians in the United States, especially those not working with Foreign, Comparative & International Law sources, have a chance to get involved in a topic that affects us all. We, as law librarians, bring to the table a unique set of skills that may help combat disinformation in a time where clarity equals life.
I will continue to collaborate on this project and any other where my research skills are needed. I invite you to
as we closely monitor the rapidly evolving legal response to COVID-19 in Latin America.
Ana Delgado; Legal Research Librarian at Suffolk University Law School Library.