COVID-19 and Libraries: Governor's Guidance on Library Closures Through April 30

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From the State Library - April 6, 2020

COVID-19 Guidance for Iowa Libraries

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Governor's Guidance on Library Closures Through April 30

We have received clarification on some questions related to the Governor’s order on additional business closures through April 30, which now extends to libraries. Here is the guidance we received from the Governor’s office in response to the following questions:

May library staff be allowed to continue working in the library building if it is closed to the public?

The proclamation only closes the establishment to the public and does not prohibit staff from continuing to work in the library. They should be encouraged to follow all the Governor's recommendations on social distancing, hygiene, working from home if possible, and staying home when sick.

Is curbside service or patron pickup allowed with a library closure?

Libraries can offer curbside or delivery services and are encouraged to [follow] social distancing, hygiene and other safety practices.

Does the announcement of library closures apply to libraries other than public libraries, such as private academic, community college, or regents libraries?

[The Governor's office is] comfortable with higher education facilities having flexibility for now to continue to use their libraries as a part of their plan for remote learning if students need to be able to access the facility.

Based on the above guidance from the Governor’s office, the State Library recommends:

  • Staff may continue to work in the library but must adhere to the Governor’s recommendations on social distancing, hygiene, remaining home when sick, and working from home if possible. Follow any local recommendations from your city about whether staff may work in the building.
  • Closing to the public means the public should not be allowed to enter the building for any reason.
  • Curbside pickup is still allowed but, again, libraries must adhere to social distancing guidelines and look for non-contact pickup options. Consider limiting service based on staffing and manageability.
  • Boost the library's Wi-Fi signal to extend outside the building and offer around the clock access. Work with local authorities to explain the importance of equal access and the public's need for Wi-Fi accessibility during this time.
  • Encourage your community to use Bridges for ebooks and audiobooks. Not a member? The State Library is enrolling new libraries now! Sign up by April 14.

COVID-19 and Iowa Libraries Information