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 are conducting 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 are:

  • Collecting, reviewing, and summarizing emerging research that applies to the collections, operations, and facilities of archives, libraries, and museums
  • Consulting with a project steering committee, working groups, and other subject matter experts from archives, libraries, and museums
  • Testing how COVID-19 interacts with a selection of materials commonly found in archives, libraries, and museums; and identifying methods of handling and remediation
  • Producing toolkit resources that support reopening and operational considerations
  • Share 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

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 is meeting regularly to provide guidance through the duration of the research study.

  • Susan Benton, Urban Libraries Council (ULC)
  • Deirdre Brennan, Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS)
  • Tim Cherubini, Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA)
  • Lorcan Dempsey, OCLC
  • Lisa J. Gugenheim, American Museum of Natural History
  • Nate Hill, Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO)
  • Crosby Kemper, Institution of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
  • Kate Laughlin, The Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL)
  • Gerald Leitner, 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)
  • Scott Miller, Smithsonian Institution
  • Laura Huerta Migus, Association of Children’s Museums (ACM)
  • 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)
  • Eryl Wentworth, Foundation for Advancement in Conservation (FAIC)

Scientific working group

  • Frederic Bertley, Center of Science and Industry (COSI)
  • Connie Bodner, Institution of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
  • 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
  • Mary F. Striegel, National Park Service

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
  • Katie Monroe, Association of Research Libraries
  • 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.