Pandemic Preparedness

Pandemic Preparedness Resources for Libraries (representation of a COVID-19 virus under electron microscope)

A pandemic is an outbreak of a disease that occurs over a wide geographic area and affects an exceptionally high proportion of the population. (). This page provides information about preparing for a pandemic, including library-specific policy suggestions and more universal resources on pandemic education, prevention and preparation. Some of the resources are specific to seasonal influenza outbreaks and the 2019/2020 COVID-19 pandemic, but can be used more universally to help educate and inform decisions on pandemic prevention and preparedness.╠ř

Library responses to COVID-19
Topics to include in an individual library policy
Professional development/training resources
Resources from
Federal resources
State and local resources
Additional resources



Below are news items from and other sources regarding Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). News items will be added as they are released.

News and official statements:

  • ( News, June 23, 2020)
  • ( News, April 28, 2020)
  • ( News,╠řApril 15, 2020)
  • ( News, March 24, 2020)
  • ╠ř( News, March 23, 2020)
  • ╠ř( News,╠řMarch 17, 2020)
  • (American Libraries,╠řMarch 13, 2020)

From American Libraries:╠ř

  • (June 3, 2020)
  • (June 1, 2020)
  • (April 24, 2020)
  • (April 23, 2020)
  • (April 17, 2020)
  • (April 15, 2020)
  • (April 9, 2020)

From the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Board of Directors:

  • (March 18, 2020)

From the Association of Library Service to Children (ALSC):

  • (ALSC Blog, March 11, 2020)

From╠řthe Office of Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services (ODLOS):

  • (March 13, 2020)

From Publishing:

  • ( News, April 9, 2020)
  • ( News, April 2, 2020)
  • ( News,╠řApril 2, 2020)

From Programming Librarian,╠řa website of the Public Programs Office:

  • (March 29, 2021)
  • (December 18, 2020)
  • (December 8, 2020)
  • (October 23, 2020)
  • (August 12, 2020)
  • (May 12, 2020)
  • (April 25, 2020)
  • (April 20, 2020)
  • (April 7, 2020)
  • (April 6, 2020)
  • (March 24, 2020)

From the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (AP):╠ř

  • (March 13, 2020)

From the Association of Research Libraries (ARL):

  • (March 16, 2020)

From the :

  • (June 22, 2020)╠ř
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    Library responses to COVID-19

    From Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe (2010-2011 ACRL President) and Christine Wolff-Eisenberg╠ř(Ithaka S+ R):

    • (Ithaka S+R Blog,╠řMarch 13, 2020).╠ř
      • Access the original survey
      • Access real-time results to survey

    From the Public Library Association:

    • In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Public Library Association (PLA) surveyed the public library community between March 24 and April 1╠řto understand the immediate impacts the crisis is having on their operations, staffing, programs and services. More details are available on their .╠ř

    Crowdsourced resources:

    • ╠ř(March 2020), created by Michael Sauers (Do Space), Julie Erickson (Technology & Innovation in Education) and Heather Braum (Northeast Kansas Regional Library System)
    • (or shifts to online classes), created March 2020 by Brian Alexander (Brian Alexander Consulting, LLC)
    • ╠ř(March 2020), created by Emily Ford (Portland State University)
    • , created by Marshall Breeding (Library Technology Guides)
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    Topics to include in an individual library policy

    Below are some topics to include in an individual library policy on illness and/or pandemic prevention and preparedness╠ř- after ensuring (if necessary) that they are consistent with the policies of the library's governing body:

    • Criteria for closing the library
    • Employee policies for sick leave, payroll and banking/financial issues, working from home
    • Mandated documentation of procedures or cross training so others can take over for sick employees.
    • Policies for social distancing -- that is, removing a number of chairs so people aren't sitting close to each other, or limiting the number of people who can come in at any one time, or taking out coat racks, and similar things that keep people and their belongings separate from each other.
    • Criteria for suspending story times and other library programs.
    • Provision of masks and gloves along with the training of staff in their removal and disposal.
    • Standards for the cleaning of bathrooms, railings and door knobs, telephones, keyboards, counters, and cleaning of workstations/offices of employees who go home sick, emptying of wastebaskets, etc.╠ř
    • Setting a schedule for seeing to the critical needs of the facility if the library is closed for an extended time (boiler and building checks by custodians, book drop, payroll and banking considerations).
    • Communications plan for reaching staff and for communicating with the public
    • Means for continuing to provide information services for the public, such as digital reference, online materials access and expansion of other online resources╠ř
    • Accommodation of the needs of people in the community who rely on library resources╠ř
    • Education of the public in advance of an epidemic
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    Professional development/training resources

    • From the ╠ř(ACRL):
      • , a collection of easily accessible options for╠řfree online professional development opportunities to help you build your skills during the COVID-19 pandemic
      • ACRL Presents webcasts:
        • ╠ř- originally presented╠řMarch 17
        • ╠ř- originally presented March 18
        • ╠ř- originally presented March 20
        • - originally presented March 27
        • - originally presented╠řApril 1
        • - originally presented╠řApril 3
        • - originally presented╠řApril 7
        • - originally presented╠řApril 14
    • From╠ř:
      • - originally presented March 20
      • -╠řoriginally presented March 26
      • ╠ř- originally presented April 3╠ř
      • -╠ř originally presented April 9
      • - originally presented╠řApril 17
    • From the (LITA):
      • - originally presented╠řApril 9
    • From the :
      • - originally presented╠řApril 29
    • From the (PLA):
      • - originally presented╠řMay 6
      • ╠ř- presentations offered weekly╠řMarch 26 - April 16 on the following topics:
        • - originally presented March 26
        • - originally presented April 2
        • - originally presented April 9
        • - originally presented April 16
        • - originally presented╠řApril 22
        • - originally presented April 23
    • From (Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations):
      • ╠ř- originally presented╠řApril 1
      • - originally presented╠řApril 15
    • From the (CDC):
      • ╠ř- originally presented╠řMarch 30
    • From the :╠ř
      • ╠ř-╠ř originally presented╠řApril 8
    • From the (NNLM):
      • - originally presented╠řApril 10
      • - originally presented╠řApril 15
      • - originally presented April 22
    • From the ╠ř(PCMA), a page of resources on - including an informational webinar series offered╠řin March 2020
    • offers╠ř
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    Resources from


    From the (ACRL):

    • A , with updated information, professional development, and resources to support academic and research library personnel during a pandemic

    From the :

    From the╠ř (ALCTS):

    • ╠ř, a webpage on the ALCTS Preservation Week site

    From the╠ř (ASGCLA):

    • A╠ř page, including a section of resources specifically for children and teens

    From the (CRO):

    • , a listing of State Chapters' responses to COVID-19

    From the (PLA):

    • A webpage, with information for public librarians to consider at their libraries, communities╠řand families respond to the COVID-19 crisis

    From the office (PPA):

    Federal resources

    The╠ř╠ř(CDC) offers many resources on the prevention, treatment and national impact of influenza and Coronavirus╠řDisease 2019 (COVID-19), including:╠ř

    • with steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. This resource is also available in a , and in and
    • A , with a downloadable database - researched by staff from the CDC's Stephen B. Thacker Library - of all COVID-19 research articles published
    • The╠ř╠řpages of CDC's website have lots of flu prevention and education resources, including specific╠ř,╠řand a with free resources - everything from print-ready brochures to videos to podcasts╠ř- to help with flu prevention communication.
    • The pages of CDC's website provide in-depth information on preparing for a global outbreak╠řof a new influenza A virus, including and .
    • to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
    • A downloadable graphic novel, "" a free resource that helps younger readers understand the importance of being prepared for an emergency, and also offers a preparedness checklist.
    • , a page with downloadable seasonal flu resources in 12 different languages.╠ř
    • The regularly-updated

    From the╠ř╠ř(FEMA):

    • A , to help the public distinguish between rumors and facts regarding the response to COVID-19.
    • A╠ř╠řto help organizations develop a Pandemic Influenza Continuity of Operations Plan.

    The (NLM) provides a, as well as multiple resources on the .╠ř

    The (OSHA) provides╠ř.

    A includes guidance specific to elementary, secondary, and higher education settings.

    The (FDA) has a , with a listing of fast facts and frequently asked questions.

    From the╠ř (GPO):

    • The╠ř blog recently posted a╠ř page.
    • ╠řcreated a new that regularly posts╠řlegislative, Presidential and regulatory documents on COVID-19
    • The╠ř (FDLP) has a , featuring several guides on the virus created by the FDLP community.
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    State and local resources

    From the CDC:

    • A
      • Per the March 30 IMLS/CDC webinar, , libraries should seek advisories and other information from their local health departments when making policy decisions on pandemic response.
    • A regularly updated and an on their .╠ř

    Some other helpful resources from state and local agencies:

    • A from the (NACCHO)

    • From the (CRO):

      • , a listing of State Chapters' responses to COVID-19
    • Alabama Public Health's discussion exercise.
    • ╠řfrom the State of Connecticut Pandemic Flu Task Force offers good educational resources on the flu.
    • ╠řoffers statistics, printable handouts in both English and Spanish, and links to other useful resources.
    • has prepared a╠řcomprehensive website╠řon Pandemic Flu Preparedness. The site includes the King County response plan, as well as informational links to a range of other topics.
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    Additional resources

    Resources on disinfecting books,╠řpracticing good hygiene and keeping workspaces clean and disinfected:

    • The╠ř project - from OCLC, IMLS and Batelle - conducted research on how╠řmaterials can be handled to mitigate exposure to staff and visitors. Results of this study, published June 22, 2020,╠řfound that╠ř.╠ř
    • American Libraries╠řhas published an article, (March 27, 2020), which provides advice from several conservators on the proper way to disinfect circulating materials
    • The (NEDCC) has provided ╠řon their website.
    • The (NCPTT) hosted a Facebook live video on March 23 - now archived and available for asynchronous viewing on their website - entitled╠ř. A few helpful resources cited in this presentation:
    • Library Journal╠řpublished an article,╠ř (April 8, 2020), summarizing the March 30 webinar from the IMLS and CDC, "Mitigating COVID-19 When Managing Paper-Based, Circulating, and Other Types of Collections" (recording linked above)
    • The CDC has a page offering , which includes advice on keeping workspaces clean and how to guide employees towards practicing good respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene. They also offer .╠ř
    • The ALSC Blog offers in libraries - with advice that could be applied to all frequently-touched surfaces during an outbreak of influenza or other viruses
    • NPR offers a somewhat lighthearted look at proper hand-washing technique with their article ""

    Mental health resources to help with pandemic-related fears and anxiety:

    • From the :
      • A╠ř relevant to the topic of pandemics and COVID-19
      • A , with information from the APA and other organizations on coping with the realities of a pandemic
    • , from the CDC
    • , from ╠ř
    • Coping with Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks, from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

    From the (IFLA) and the (ALIA), a continually updated to help libraries communicate with their communities╠ř

    PSA/Promotional resources:

    • created by Alex P. Watson, research & instruction librarian and associate professor at the University of Mississippi, created from public health posters from the WPA that are available in the╠řpublic domain from the Library of Congress.╠ř
    • The (IFLA) and the (ALIA) have created a continually updated to help libraries communicate with their communities╠ř
    • has a╠ř, along with . There are translations of the comics in as well.╠ř
    • A on COVID-19 from the (ACL)
    • From the , a page of ╠řto download and share

    Resources for children and young adults:

    • has a╠ř, along with . There are translations of the comics in as well.╠ř
    • From the , a . The CDC also offers a
    • NPR editor Malaka Gharib created a based on interviews that education reporter Cory Turner conducted with several experts. Users can also download a of the comic.
    • PBS Kids offers some , to help manage the stress associated with widespread illness.
    • Several podcasters on - a non-profit that advocates for high-quality audio content for children - have contributed to a , to help children and their families understand COVID-19 and the actions we're all taking to prevent its spread.╠ř

    Resources for older adults:

    • The (ACL) has a (COVID-19), including a .
    • The CDC offers
    • AARP will present a to help answer questions and provide resources for caregivers.

    Resources from the (WHO):

    • offers virological data on the spread of influenza worldwide
    • provides a framework for partnerships and programs, with the goal of strengthening prevention and preparedness
    • A page of ╠řto download and share

    Resources from the Mayo Clinic:

    From :

    • , a guide for preventing and addressing social stigma associated with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), intended to support governments, media and local organizations.

    The has a , updated in near real-time and with data available for download.

    Further reading:

    • , a curated source╠řof up-to-date scientific information about the novel 2019 Coronavirus (COVID-19), hosted by the and the .
    • In 2015 experts in communication, public health, and emergency response came together at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center. This report details key takeaways from the meeting and seeks to distill lessons learned about public health communication in times of crisis.
    • from , a website from virology professor at the University of Queensland, Ian M. Mackay
    • , from the (LHRT), offering a historiographical look at libraries' responses to pandemics and other disasters╠ř
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    Page updated June 30, 2020
    Image by used under the license.