The Library awarded seventeen Visiting Fellowships and five Travel Grants for the 2020-2021 year. The award recipients represent institutions in the US, UK, Poland, and Australia. Only a couple of weeks after the awards were announced and accepted the Library was forced to close in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. All award recipients were informed of the closure and uncertainty of reopening. Two 2019-2020 Fellows were in residence part-way through their fellowships when the virus’s impact began to be felt. They abbreviated their visits and hope to return to the Library to resume their work when possible. A further six fellows from this past year were scheduled to be in residence between mid-March and the end of June 2020; they, too, have had to postpone their fellowships indefinitely.
In an attempt to mitigate the inconvenience of the closure, we reviewed each fellow’s application for the collection materials they cited as being of importance to their research and identified existing digitized versions. We wrote to each fellow to point them to relevant online surrogates and to ask if there were any specific collection items that they deemed critical to their research and not available remotely. The items are being considered in the prioritization for digital photography when staff return.
Nicole Bouché has informed all fellows that they will be welcome when we are able to receive them and they are able to travel to Farmington, as long as they are working on substantially the same topic for which they were awarded the fellowship in the first place.
In ordinary years, the fellowship year runs from July 1 through June 30, coinciding with Yale’s fiscal year. The deadline of June 30 of the fellowship year has been waived. It is still not clear as of this writing when visiting researchers will be permitted to return to the Library, and we are grateful for the understanding of all our fellows.
by Susan Walker