Libraries and the Coronavirus: Evolving Information and Resources

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The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak is having a global impact, and affecting local communities. Staff in libraries of all types, geographic locations, and sizes are learning the facts about this public health crisis, informing the public, and adapting services and programming to meet changing community needs. Last update, July 27, 2020.

WebJunction Articles and Events

Library-specific Resource Collections

On Working Remotely and Self-care

The following from PLA, suggested by the PLA Social Worker Task Force

  • Care for Your Coronavirus Anxiety: An interactive and up-to-date resource from Mental Health America and Shine, with free meditations, information on isolation, and how to structure your day. It also has tips on how to talk to children about the virus.
  • The Science of Well-Being: A free, structured online learning course with videos and readings, where you will engage in a series of challenges designed to increase your own happiness and build more productive habits. Offered by Yale University.
  • The Happiness Lab: A podcast by Yale professor Dr Laurie Santos (of The Science of Well-Being course) that will take you through the latest scientific research and share some surprising and inspiring stories that will forever alter the way you think about happiness.
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Resource Guide: This COVID-19 resource document addresses questions about anxiety, health insurance, losing a loved one, and more.
  • Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health: This tip sheet from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration describes feelings and thoughts you may have during and after social distancing, quarantine, and isolation. It also suggests ways to care for your behavioral health during these experiences and provides resources for more help."

Virtual Library Programming and Services – Resources and Examples

Materials Handling Information and other Disaster Planning Resources

3D Printing of Medical Equipment – Resources and Examples

Libraries Sharing COVID-19 Information – Examples

  • Kalamazoo (MI) Public Library, included information about how the library was responding, such as increased cleaning and preventative measures [Update: The library is now closed]
  • Lexington (SC) Public Library, features a blog post, recommendations and a robust compilation of local, national and world information
  • North Central (WA) Regional Library, offers tips for staying healthy and reminders on services the library provides that can be accessed without coming into the library building
  • Georgetown University, Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center, provides information about preventative actions and updates about the impact on campus life
  • The University of Iowa, Coronavirus | COVID-19 | Guide to information sources
  • Georgetown County Library (SC), a Spanish-language video about staying safe during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Library Closure Information, Data Collection, and Surveys in the Field

There are several initiatives underway to collect information from libraries on how the pandemic is impacting the field. Participating in these data collection efforts and surveys can help colleagues around the country see what similar organizations are doing, and it also can surface needs. If you are able, please consider providing information about your library and help us all stay informed. 

  • The Public Library Association has collected data from public libraries through a survey to "help advance national policy advocacy for libraries, and increase our shared knowledge across the field and with the media."
  • Google sheet project, Public Libraries closed for COVID-10, started by Michael Sauers, Director of Technology at dospace.org, and Julie Erickson, with support from Heather Braum. 
  • Marshall Breeding, Library Responses to COVID-19 Crisis. "We are collecting data on how each library is responding to COVID-19 in libraries.org. This information will be useful in communicating the status of individual libraries and to the broader community in analyzing the general response trends." 
  • Ithaka S+R, US Academic Library Response to COVID19. This survey is structured to allow responders to provide updates as the situation evolves, and also makes live survey results available.
  • Public Library News is maintaining a list of public libraries that are closed in the U.K. You can add your library by contacting them via Twitter.
  • infoDOCKET, Library-Related Event Closings, Cancellations and Updated Due to COVID-19 Concerns
  • Messaging from The Seattle Public Library and the King County Library System on library closures.
  • Examples of library responses internationally, from the EIFL Public Library Innovation Programme, You can’t keep a good public library (locked) down
  • EDUCAUSE COVID-19 QuickPoll Results: Fall Planning for Education and Student Support
  • CLIR, COVID (Re)Collections, a series exploring responses to the COVID-19 pandemic by library, cultural heritage, and information professionals. Share your story here
  • Canadian Urban Libraries Council gathered responses via the Public Library Services Post Covid-19 Survey. See infographic summary of the survey responses.
  • Libraries Connected published Libraries: An essential part of local recovery, an advocacy guide to demonstrate the importance of public libraries to local communities as they work to recover from COVID-19.
  • Public Libraries in Europe and COVID-19, National Authorities on Public Libraries in Europe (NAPLE). Updated findings from 22 European countries regarding the way that COVID-19 affected public library services up until July 2020.

Information and Resources from other sectors, federal, state and local

We will continue to update this list with additional information and resources as library and community responses evolve.

Image credits: "A Healthy Future is in Your Hands", CDC; Coronavirus Facts, Malaka Gharib/ NPR