With more and more countries moving to loosen restrictions linked to the COVID-19 Pandemic, libraries are facing hard choices about how to re-open their doors safely. To support these, IFLA Headquarters and the IFLA Management of Library Associations Section are gathering examples of plans being developed and implemented.

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen libraries in countries around the world forced to close their doors as part of efforts to stop the spread of the disease. This has caused major disruption to the services our institutions offer to the communities they support.

Faced with this, the library field has proven its capacity for innovation and resourcefulness, finding new ways to reach users and enable education, research and access to culture.

Moves to re-open libraries promise to make this work much easier again, but at the same time, can also bring queries and concens about how to ensure the safety of users and staff.

With similar questions being asked around the world, by libraries facing similar situations, there is much to be gained from sharing both responses and uncertainties, in order to learn from each other.

For this reason, IFLA Headquarters is working with IFLA’s Management of Library Associations Section to collect examples of how library associations, agencies and networks are planning for a safe re-opening of institutions, for the sake of users and staff alike.

IFLA Secretary-General Gerald Leitner said: ‘The re-opening of libraries will be an both an important symbolic moment, and a practical opportunity for people to make use of vital services again. However, doing this safely requires careful planning and cannot come at the expense of safety. Thanks to its global membership, IFLA is able to draw together and share practical information from around the world to help its members do so’.

The results will be available to members of the section directly, and will feed into ongoing updates of IFLA’s COVID-19 resource page.

Are you a library association, agency or network and have not received the link? Send an email to [email protected] and we will share relevant details. Examples of plans (translated where needed) from Germany, France, Switzerland, Poland the United States are already featured on our COVID-19 resource page.