Libraries Connected knows that our libraries are working round the clock in incredibly difficult circumstances to maintain services to their local communities. However, some libraries have already closed due to the latest government advice and we expect more to follow.
Given the central role of libraries in their communities and their support to the most vulnerable, any decision taken to close buildings should not be taken lightly.
However, in light of the recent escalation of the COVID-19 crisis and the latest government advice, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that library buildings should close to protect communities and staff from infection. We are calling on government to make a clear decision about closing libraries, along with other public buildings.
Libraries are more than just a physical space and many that have closed their buildings are continuing to deliver a range of services, including access to e-books, magazines and resources as well as activities such as online Rhyme Time, and importantly, phone calls to isolated library users who may not have digital access.
We are working with our members to help them to support their most affected users during this time, including older people who are self-isolating and parents of young children. However, it is equally important that library staff are safeguarded during this period.
Together, we are planning to deliver a range of new, remote services to help our most vulnerable users because we are determined to help libraries to support their communities during this difficult time and beyond.
Mark Freeman, President, Libraries Connected:
‘At Libraries Connected and indeed across all our library services, our primary concern is to keep library staff, users and volunteers safe through this unprecedented crisis. Regretfully, it now appears that closing library buildings during this time may be the most effective means to achieve this.’
Carol Stump, President Elect, Libraries Connected:
‘A library service is far more than the building. Our work to tackle isolation and loneliness will be absolutely vital over the next few weeks and months and we are all committed to providing online and remote services to our communities for as long as this crisis continues.’