Libraries and COVID-19

Published on March 30, 2020

The COVID-19 Emergency has starkly reminded us all how critical libraries are during times of disruption. As public and school, and many academic libraries across New York State have quickly turned their attention from the heartbreakingly tough decision to close the doors to our physical facilities to online service delivery and community engagement work, we are seeing creative and innovative programs crop up in the NYLA Community.

In addition to promoting the living daylights out of our online collections, library staff are producing online story times, book discussions, play readings, mocktail hours and SO much more. The focus on hyper-local news like how to support small businesses, promotion of blood drives, and how to safely help those in need in our communities is where many libraries are finding their niche, a hook that draws new patrons to all the library has to offer.

This emergency allows libraries to shine in new ways, connecting with new audiences, and living our values out loud.

The Sustainable Libraries Initiative encourages you to focus on how we help bring our communities together and feel like neighbors during these days of social distancing. Our ability to help hold together our social networks is what will make the difference between physical distancing and social isolation, and, in some dire cases, the difference between life and death as we work to ensure our most vulnerable citizens have the information and support they need.

Be well. We’re all in this together.
Rebekkah Smith Aldrich
Co-Founder & Co-Chair, NYLA Sustainability Initiative
Executive Director, Mid-Hudson Library System

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