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COVID-19: CLA Statement

Information about Connecticut library responses to the coronavirus, as well as links to other COVID-19 sites for libraries and Connecticut.

CLA Suggested Statement on Public Library Reopening

When Will the Library Open? 
A suggested statement from the Connecticut Library Association

With the many new challenges and processes the COVID-19 shutdown has thrust upon us, we would like to offer this messaging template to help you communicate your library's plans with respect to the Governor's June 17th re-opening guidelines. You can customize the wording as suits your situation, but much of the content is common to us all.       

Within our state there is a great variation in how this outbreak has affected our communities, our libraries' operating capacities, our patrons and our staff.  Respecting the uniqueness of how individual libraries will move toward re-opening , is it imperative that we not be pitted against each other in competition or unfair comparison, particularly as our resources differ widely.

Regarding resources, remember that the Governor recently set aside $75,000,000 in crisis funding for towns and cities, so whether you are an association or municipal library, or an educational or special library, it could benefit you to begin the dialog about how you can defray some of the extra expenses needed to comply with the re-opening guidelines. 

Please reach out to CLA, the Connecticut State Library, and the Connecticut Library Consortium for help. Now more than ever, we must support each other so we can continue to serve our users.

Tom Piezzo
CLA President-Elect

Suggested Statement Template:

The many questions we've received about the Library opening are certainly heartwarming.  We're glad to be providing a service that you'd like to see resume.

The decision to open our library will need to be based on evaluation by our local health district, local library governance (including Library Boards and Town government), the physical characteristics of our buildings and our own staffing levels, as well as State-level plans for returning to normal.  Our resources may not allow immediately restoring the same levels of service we once provided.

Here are some of the things that need to be addressed before a library can reopen to the public in a way that is safe for both visitors and staff:

  • Adequate PPE for library staff and visitors
  • Possible limits on the number of people in the building
  • Possible limits on the amount of time visitors spend here
  • Separation of people using computers or study rooms
  • Redesign or suspension of events that bring in large groups, including children's summer programs
  • Redesign or adaptation of places where people interact face-to-face, such as check-out desks or reference services
  • Planning to accomplish disinfection of shared surfaces multiple times during each work day

We are anxious to return to the personal services that brought us to library work as a profession, but we are now challenged by the need to make radical changes that will significantly alter how we serve you, our most respected guests.  Before we are ready to open fully, we will continue to help you by phone or e-mail and will initiate and expand no-contact services such as virtual programming and curbside delivery.
 
While libraries have the State's permission to open during Stage Two of the reopening plan, we will not open until we have adjusted the environment to make it safe for all.   
 
Please revisit our home page often so you can follow our progress!

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