PLA Survey

ALA Survey Shows Effects of Pandemic on Library Services

June 3, 2020

A new American Library Association (ALA) survey of US libraries, “Libraries Respond: COVID-19 Survey,” documents a shift in services to support students, faculty, and communities at large during the crisis and phased preparations for the months ahead. While virtually all libraries (99%) report limited access to the physical building, survey respondents shared leaps in the … Continue reading ALA Survey Shows Effects of Pandemic on Library Services


Boxes of returns organized by day in the large meeting room at Elmhurst (Ill.) Public Library. All items sit in quarantine for three days before small teams working in shifts check them in and reshelve them. Photo: Alea Perez/Elmhurst Public Library

Reopening Gets Real

June 2, 2020

Both library services and the spaces themselves will look much different from before the pandemic. Changes include limiting capacity and computer use, putting one-way walking markers on floors, requiring both patrons and staff to wear masks, having sanitizer available, installing Plexiglas sneeze guards, and allowing appointment-only entry—all intended to prioritize staff and patron health. Still, … Continue reading Reopening Gets Real


Illustration: Tom Deja

Coping in the Time of COVID-19

June 1, 2020

Freeman was joined by Maria Stella Rasetti, director of San Giorgio Library of Pistoia in Tuscany, Italy; Lisa Rosenblum, executive director of King County (Wash.) Library System; Loren Mc Clain, certified instructor for the National Council for Behavioral Health and Mental Health First Aid USA and senior academic advisor for the School of Science, Technology, … Continue reading Coping in the Time of COVID-19


Staffers at Chicago Ridge (Ill.) Public Library, which closed its doors March 16 because of COVID-19, advertise the library's remote-reference services in a group Zoom call.. Photo: Chicago Ridge (Ill.) Public Library

Bookend: Remote and Ready

June 1, 2020

Director Dana Wishnick’s first priority was setting up the phone system to forward calls to staffers working from home: “We have about 20% of our community that doesn’t have access to computers or internet connections, and we really wanted to be able to serve them during this time.” To let users know that staffers were … Continue reading Bookend: Remote and Ready


Baldwin Public Library in Birmingham, Michigan, donated 100 3D-printed protective face shields to Beaumont Hospital in nearby Troy. Photo: Baldwin Public Library in Birmingham, Michigan.

Using 3D to Make PPE

June 1, 2020

Jillian Rutledge, public services manager at Waterloo (Iowa) Public Library, learned about a PPE production initiative through a local branch of the national community revitalization project Main Street America. When her library closed its doors to patrons March 17, she obtained instructions online for printing PPE and tried various iterations before finding one that worked … Continue reading Using 3D to Make PPE



Illustration: Tom Deja

How to Sanitize Collections in a Pandemic

June 1, 2020

It’s an unprecedented situation. Conservators, who are experienced in diagnosing and repairing collection damage, say that historical information on sanitizing library materials is lacking. Besides a bit of anecdotal evidence in a 2019 Smithsonian Magazine article, there’s very little historical data available, says Evan Knight, preservation specialist at the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners: “There’s … Continue reading How to Sanitize Collections in a Pandemic


Youth Matters, by Leigh Fox

Partners in Crisis

June 1, 2020

As youth librarians, our most important partners are schools and educators, which these days include many caregivers who have been thrown into homeschooling for the first time. In my system, Brooklyn (N.Y.) Public Library (BPL), staffers have been busily figuring out ways to provide resources that our students, parents, and teachers may need as they … Continue reading Partners in Crisis


From the Executive Director by Tracie D. Hall

Front Lines and Fault Lines

June 1, 2020

“Wow,” he exclaimed, asking where I had heard about it. I told him there were regular updates on the internet about supply distribution and, ­perhaps even more important, about the number of confirmed coronavirus cases by zip code. To which he responded earnestly, “But how many people have the internet?” I gestured toward his phone, … Continue reading Front Lines and Fault Lines




ALA COVD-19 Update

ALA Executive Board Stands with APALA in Condemning Xenophobia, Racism

May 26, 2020

The Executive Board of the American Library Association (ALA) stands with the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) in condemning xenophobia and racism. The ALA Executive Board endorses APALA’s March 13 statement, in which it “unequivocally denounce[d] the rise in racism and xenophobia against Asians and Asian/Pacific Americans in the wake of the outbreak of COVID-19 … Continue reading ALA Executive Board Stands with APALA in Condemning Xenophobia, Racism