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Questions to Consider in Preparedness Planning

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Prevention and Preparedness

  1. What steps can you take to protect staff and the public?
  2. Will you have gloves, sanitizer, wipes, etc.? How often will you clean public surfaces and with what?
  3. Will you post signs about health guidance, policies around closing or sickness, etc., and if so, where?
  4. What information/guidance will you disseminate to the public about COVID-19, from what authorities, and what method of communication will you use?
  5. What local authorities do you need to coordinate your planning with?
  6. Does your municipality/school have an emergency preparedness or continuity of operations plan? Does it provide guidance for your library?
  7. What are you communicating to staff and volunteers regarding coming to work when they are feeling ill/have a fever? What are your sick leave policies and do you have any flexibility around use of sick time?
  8. Would staff need to use personal or sick time if they became ill with COVID-19?
  9. What is the procedure for staff and volunteers calling in sick? What happens if several people call in sick? Would the library need to close – and, if so, how would you notify the public?

Reduction in Hours and Services at the Physical Building

  1. Under what circumstances would the library reduce hours and services in the library building?
  2. What are your library’s essential services?
  3. What would be the impact of high absenteeism due to illness?
  4. What is the minimum number of staff needed in the building to provide essential services and what would that look like?
  5. Are there certain services/programs that you will cancel, make virtual, or postpone? If so, how would you communicate these changes to the public?
  6. Will you alter your procedures around cleaning books? Toys? Other manipulatives?
  7. How will you handle cash and sanitation?
  8. Does it make sense to extend due-dates and waive late fines?

Closure of the Physical Building

  1. Under what circumstances would the physical library close?
  2. How would you communicate with staff, volunteers, trustees, and the public about the library closing?
  3. Would library staff still get paid if the library closed for days/weeks?
  4. How will you ensure that paychecks continue to be cut if the person who does payroll gets sick?
  5. If you are a municipal library and the Town Offices close, will the library also close?
  6. Does the local school closing affect whether the library closes?
  7. What services can the library still offer if the physical building closes? How will you publicize that?
  8. Who will be responsible for coming into the library to check the book drop, the facilities, etc., during an extended closure?
  9. How will the library’s bills continue to get paid during an extended closure?
  10. How will the decision be made to reopen the library building?


(Updated: 5/10/21)