IFLA Guide to Reopening Libraries After COVID-19 Shutdowns

IFLA, the International Federation of Libraries and Institutions, compiled a guide to the policies and procedures of libraries around the world as they move towards reopening libraries.

The global pandemic caused many, if not most, libraries to shut their doors while maintaining and expanding access to online activities and digital resources. Forced to close down, libraries around the world showed remarkable ingenuity and innovation as they reached out to library users with the clear message that the library was there for them even if services could not be provided in person.

The focus has now shifted to reopening. The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) has published a guide to help libraries set policies and create a plan for reopening. This overview of reopening strategies summarizes actions being taken and includes a list of national documents describing reopening activities. These generally revolve around limiting the number of people allowed in the building, maintaining social distance, ensuring hygiene, guaranteeing the safe handling of materials, communicating with stakeholders, providing services to vulnerable populations, keeping staff safe, and being ready to change should circumstances require it.

The IFLA guide is dynamic, with updates as new information becomes available.

Additionally, IFLA has been compiling a list of resources related to libraries and COVID-19. Like the guide to restoring on-premises services, this document is being continuously updated. It covers these topics:

Although the 2020 World Library and Information Congress (WLIC), originally scheduled for August in Dublin, Ireland, was cancelled, IFLA remains an important force for the global library community as it confronts the many challenges stemming from the pandemic, the economic situation, and the need for diversity and equity in society.