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 and helping to inform their patrons. Last update, March 30, 2020.

What can libraries do?

Library-specific resource compilations

Many library organizations have compiled resources and examples for library staff and patrons.

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. 


Many public events offered by libraries have now been cancelled to reduce the spread of coronavirus. However, prior to this guidance libraires sought to inform the community about the facts through face-to-face events. These are examples of how libraries worked with partners, including the local health department, to meet that community information needs (updated March 19, 2020):

  • Skokie (IL) Public Library, "Civic Lab Coronavirus: Distinguishing Fears from Facts." Description: What is COVID-19 and how is it affecting people and communities across the globe? Explore resources and join discussion on coronavirus (event date, February 26, 2020).
  • Hawaii State Public Library (Hilo), "Emerging Infectious Disease: COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus)". Description: Come learn about what federal, state, and local government actions are in place to prevent the introduction and spread of infectious disease, such as COVID-19, to Hawaii County (event date, March 3, 2020).
  • Attleboro Public Library, "Coronavirus – Get the facts." Description: The Library will be hosting Attleboro’s Health Department for an information session on the coronavirus.

Virtual Programming Resources

In response to cancellations, some libraries are starting to offer online storytimes and we're collecting examples of those programs now. A few resources to explore:

More information about how libraries will deal with the impact of coronavirus will emerge. We will continue to update this list and will be interested in hearing more about how the response to the outbreak evolves and what role libraries will have within their communities.


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