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COVID-19 Pandemic Information

Post Date:03/17/2020 2:15 PM
Library-related information and resources about COVID-19 including statements from SCKLS to member libraries as well as links to resources useful for librarians are available here.

SCKLS Communications

SCKLS Libraries Closed to the Public-March 30, 2020

By Order of the Governor to the State of Kansas, libraries statewide should close or remain closed to the public until April 19, 2020 or until the Order is rescinded.  Read the Executive Order at:  https://governor.kansas.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/EO20-16.pdf

The Order reads in part:  “To preserve the public health and safety for all Kansans, and to ensure the healthcare system is capable of serving all citizens in need, especially those at high risk and vulnerable to COVID-19, all individuals within the state of Kansas are directed to stay in their homes or residences unless performing an essential activity.”

School district buildings and consequently school district member libraries of SCKLS were closed for the duration of the school year by state order as of Tuesday, March 17.  Academic member libraries in the south central region may already have   closed by the authority of their academic institution.  McConnell Air Force Base Library, a special library member of SCKLS, closed to the public on March 25.

SCKLS continues to provide support and service to member libraries through phone, email and other remote communications.  We welcome your questions and concerns during this difficult period for our libraries and communities. 

SCKLS Public Library Closings—March 18, 2020

Of the 72 public library members of SCKLS, 32 (see list below) have chosen to temporarily close to the public to help reduce the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus. The closing data is based on an informal survey by SCKLS Staff of member public library websites and listserv postings conducted as of the morning of March 18.

Detailed information beyond a library’s temporary closing to public or when the library may reopen was not readily available.  Member libraries are not only interested in when and why libraries close and may reopen, but information about if and how library services are being provided in the meantime and how closures are affecting library staff and users.  SCKLS encourages member public, academic, school district and special libraries to continue to share and post information about your library and COVID-19 to the SCKLS listserv: sckls-main@listserv.kumc.edu   

In a statement released Wednesday, March 17 the American Library Association (ALA), “Although closing a library is a local decision, we urge library administrators, local boards and governments to close library facilities until such time as library workers and our communities are no longer at risk of contracting or spreading the COVID-19 coronavirus. Keeping libraries open at this time has the potential to harm communities more than help. ”  Read the full story at: https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/blogs/the-scoop/ala-executive-board-recommends-closing-libraries-to-public/

While SCKLS does not offer services directly to the public, we continue to provide support and service to member libraries through phone, email and other remote communications.  Travel by SCKLS staff to member libraries has been temporarily suspended until further notice.  We will reassess the risk in our ability to provide on-site services on a week-to-week basis and make member libraries aware of any changes in our temporary travel suspension. 

SCKLS welcomes your questions and concerns during this challenging period for our libraries and communities.  Please feel free to contact us. 

 

Library

Status

Andale District Public

Closed as of March 18

Andover Public

Closed as of March 13

Arkansas City

Closed March 16 - 21

Augusta Public

Closed March 17 – March 21

Belle Plaine Public

Closed as of March 15

Buhler Public

Closed as of March 17

Caldwell Public

Closed March 15 - 21

Cheney Public

Closed as of March 17

Clearwater Public

Closed as of March 18

Conway Springs

Closed as of March 17

Cunningham Public

Closed as of March 17

Derby Public

Closed as of March 17

Douglass Public

Closed March 18 - 30th

El Dorado Bradford

Closed March 17 - 21

Haven Public

Closed of March 18

Hesston Public

Closed as of March 17

Hutchinson Public

Closed as of March 18

Lindsborg Community

Closed March 16 - 21

McPherson Public

Closed as of March 18

Moundridge Public

Closed as of March 18

Newton Public

Closed as of March 17

Norwich Public

Closed as of March 17

Park City Public

Closed as of March 17

Potwin Public

Closed as of March 18

Stafford Nora Larabee Public

Closed as of March 17

Sterling Public

Closed as of March 16

Towanda Public

Closed March 18 - March 28

Udall Public

Closed of March 18

Valley Center Public

Closed as of March 16

Wellington Public

Closed as of March 18

Wichita Public

Closed March 17 - March 27

Winfield Public

Closed March 16 until mid-April


SCKLS and Library COVID-19 Guidance—March 17, 2020

SCKLS is closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on libraries and librarians. Decisions about when and what responses to take in regard to library services and COVID-19 are local ones, but member libraries look to SCKLS for guidance.

In terms of guidance on disinfecting workplaces and what individual staff and libraries can do to reduce risk of contagion, the following are recommended basic practices:

  • More frequent cleaning and disinfection of the library.
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Staying home when you are sick.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.

The recommendation to avoid close contact with people who are sick is the most problematic in terms of our role as librarians in providing public service and our responsibility not to contribute to the spread of the virus.  “Social distancing” is the term most often used to explain what we can do as individuals to reduce the number of people who become infected by the coronavirus.

Depending on your library, your options for staffing and resources to create social distancing may be limited.  Consequently, some libraries in south central Kansas have temporarily closed to the public. In some future instances, libraries may temporarily close to the public at the request or recommendation of their local or county health officials or local city, school district, college or other authority.   However, “closed to the public” doesn’t necessarily mean that the librarians at these libraries are not working or being paid for their time since they may be performing other library services that don’t involve public contact with library users.

Other libraries in our area have chosen to cancel programs and events or found ways of deliberately increasing the recommended physical space--at least six feet--between librarians and library users to avoid spreading the illness.  In a positive application, some libraries have also used social distancing as an incentive to promote and enhance use of their library’s website, downloadable eBooks and other online services.  

As a public health measure and to help reduce the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus, SCKLS is currently advising member libraries to consider and take action from the range of available options including increased personal hygiene to the potential temporary closing of your library to the public.  Your library’s responses to COVID-19 will differ as your community’s circumstances change.

SCKLS welcomes your questions and concerns during this challenging period for our libraries and communities.  We encourage you to continue to post information about your library and COVID-19 to the SCKLS listserv: sckls-main@listserv.kumc.edu

As always, our community of shared library experiences and knowledge will make a difference.

--

Paul Hawkins, Director

South Central Kansas Library System

 

In-Person Training Events and Temporary Travel Suspension—March 17, 2020

As a precaution and to further public health by reducing possible exposure to COVID-19 virus, SCKLS is cancelling five upcoming, in-person trainings scheduled during March and April.  Any previously scheduled SCKLS webinars for March through May are still planned to be held.  If you pre-registered for any of the five upcoming, in-person trainings SCKLS will contact you in a separate email about the cancellations.

Your library’s responses to Covid-19 are local-decisions, but SCKLS has determined that reducing possible exposure to COVID-19 virus is an appropriate public health measure.  In addition to cancelling the upcoming, in-person training events, travel by SCKLS staff to member libraries will be temporarily suspended until Monday, March 30.  Our staff will continue to provide support and service through phone, email and other remote communications during the next two weeks.  Please feel free to contact us. 

SCKLS is preparing a separate statement of general advice for member libraries to consider regarding COVID-19 which will be shared by email later today.  If you have concerns or questions regarding your library’s responses to COVID-19, we are glad to assist.

--

Paul Hawkins, Director

South Central Kansas Library System

 

Resources for Libraries

American Library Association Pandemic Preparedness Resources for Libraries

http://www.ala.org/tools/atoz/pandemic-preparedness

State Library of Kansas

https://kslib.info/blog.aspx?iid=785

State of Kansas COVID-19 Resource Center

http://www.kdheks.gov/coronavirus/index.htm

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention United States Department of Health and Human Services

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

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