REALM Project

Archives, Libraries,
and Museums


As libraries, museums, and archives adjust policies and operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is need for clear, science-based information to support local decision making.

As part of the REALM project, OCLC, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and Battelle has conducted research that includes laboratory testing on materials contaminated with SARS-CoV-2; tracking the scientific literature on issues of transmission, decontamination, vaccines and variants; and collecting illustrative examples that can help libraries, archives, and museums mitigate COVID-19 exposure to staff and visitors. 

To achieve these goals, the project partners have:

  • Collected, reviewed, and summarized research that applies to the collections, operations, and facilities of archives, libraries, and museums
  • Consulted with a project steering committee, working groups, and other subject matter experts from archives, libraries, and museums
  • Tested how COVID-19 interacts with a selection of materials commonly found in archives, libraries, and museums; and identifying methods of handling and remediation
  • Produced toolkit resources that support reopening and operational considerations
  • Hosted and summarized discussions among archives, libraries, and museum practitioners about lessons learned during the pandemic that can help prepare institutions for future public health crises
  • Shared project information and toolkit resources through the project website and amplified by member associations and support organizations that serve archives, libraries, and/or museums.
REALM partnership chart

The executive project steering committee and the working groups were active though summer 2022. 


Steering committee and working groups

Executive project steering committee

An executive project steering committee comprised of leaders from across the archive, library, museum, and scientific fields met regularly to provide guidance. Meetings concluded in June 2022.

  • Arthur Affleck, Association of Children’s Museums (ACM)
  • Susan Benton, Urban Libraries Council (ULC)
  • Deirdre Brennan, Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS)
  • Lorcan Dempsey, OCLC
  • Tiffani Emig, Foundation for Advancement in Conservation (FAIC)
  • Lisa J. Gugenheim, American Museum of Natural History
  • Nate Hill, Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO)
  • Jeremy Johannesen,  Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA)
  • Crosby Kemper, Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
  • Kate Laughlin, The Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL)
  • Stephen Wyber, The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)
  • Pat Losinski, Columbus Metropolitan Library
  • Laura Lott, American Alliance of Museums (AAM)
  • Angela Maycock, Public Library Association (PLA)
  • Martha Meacham, National Library of Medicine
  • Scott Miller, Smithsonian Institution
  • Laura Huerta Migus, Institute of Museum and Library Services 
  • Jim Neal, Columbia University
  • Christofer Nelson, Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC)
  • Allison Olson, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
  • Mark Sweeney, Library of Congress (LOC)
  • Kelvin Watson,  Las Vegas-​Clark County Library District

Scientific working group

  • Frederic Bertley, Center of Science and Industry (COSI)
  • Connie Bodner, Institution of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
  • Catherine Cooper, National Park Service (NPS)
  • Fenella France, Library of Congress (LOC)
  • Jennifer Hermann, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
  • Nate Hill, Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO)
  • Paul Messier, Yale University
  • Scott Miller, Smithsonian Institution
  • Jacob Nadal, Library of Congress (LOC)
  • Chip Nilges, OCLC
  • Ellen Pearlstein, UCLA
  • Hannelore Roemich, New York University

Operations working group

  • Paul Bouseman, Mesker Park Zoo and Botanical Gardens
  • Dierdre Brennan, Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS)
  • Chris Carron, Indianapolis Children's Museum
  • Bexx Caswell-Olson, Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC)
  • Carole Charnow, Boston Children's Museum
  • Carolyn Coulter, PraireCat
  • Carol Frost, Peninsula Library System
  • William Harris, Space Center Houston
  • Nate Hill, Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO)
  • Martha Meacham, National Library of Medicine
  • Mantra Roy, San Jose State University
  • Patricia Silence, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
  • Belinda Tate, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

This project was made possible in part with support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Library of Congress, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Carnegie Corporation of New York. 

For inquiries about this project, contact OCLC Research: