ILA's Response to COVID-19

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The Iowa Library Association continues to operate and is here to support our members and the Iowa library community. You can reach out by email to either Executive Director Randi Malone or Membership and Meetings Director Jeremy Clark with any questions or calling the ILA Office at 515-282-8192.


3/24/2020
ILA Letter to the Governor

Over the past week, the Iowa Library Association has heard concerns from librarians seeking guidance and support regarding library closures, working remotely, and pay for library staff during the current public health crisis. This week, the ILA Board approved sending a letter, see here, to the Governor’s office addressing these issues and expressing concerns that, as public spaces, libraries cannot maintain the social distancing currently mandated by the Governor’s office. We hope that this communication with the State government will help them to understand the concerns regarding the health and safety of library staff and our patrons, as well as take appropriate action to support libraries.

Please feel free to contact anyone on the ILA Executive Board with any questions.


3/20/2020
Updated Iowa Library Association Statement on COVID-19

Library Colleagues, Coworkers, & Friends,

Since the Iowa Library Association’s (ILA) statement on Monday March 16th, Governor Kim Reynolds declared a State of Public Health Disaster Emergency for Iowa due to the continued rise in cases of COVID-19 via community spread. While this State of Emergency did not address libraries, it did close restaurants and bars, and other popular gathering places. These closures, along with the prior closure of schools, will continue to put a strain on the lives and health of patrons and staff in libraries that are still open.

If a library chooses to only suspend operations to the public, we strongly recommend libraries adopt a policy that staff are not required to come in if they feel unsafe doing so. Additionally, we support the American Library Association’s Allied Professional Association statement that all library workers receive fully paid leave, including health coverage, while libraries are closed.

Therefore, in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations and in consideration of the governor’s recent declaration and initiatives to limit the spread of the virus, the Iowa Library Association, as an advocate and leader of libraries in the state, encourages all public, academic, and special libraries to close their doors and re-open only when guidance from public health officials indicates the risk from COVID-19 has significantly subsided. Library buildings are not conducive to social distancing and disinfecting to the degree needed to curb the spread of the virus is not feasible at this time. It is not possible to maintain the six-foot rule nor the 10-person gathering rule inside of libraries.

Please continue to monitor the Iowa Department of Public Health’s website for more information about the outbreak, the CDC website, and ALA’s guidelines for pandemic preparedness.


3/17/2020
ILA Asking Libraries to Extend WIFI Ranges

In light of school and business closures, the Iowa Library Association is asking libraries across the State to do what they can to assist students and adults who are working remotely by removing WiFi passwords, turning those networks on 24/7, and wherever possible, extending their WiFi networks as far into their parking lots and outdoor areas as possible. 

We also encourage libraries to update any user agreements or splash pages to remind patrons to adhere to the CDC's guidelines of staying at least 6 feet away from others and in groups of no more than 10.

ILA members have a long history of connecting Iowans and we are happy to do our part during this time to keep that commitment. Please feel free to contact me or anyone on the ILA Executive Board with any questions.


3/16/2020
Iowa Library Association Statement on COVID-19 

Library Colleagues, Coworkers, & Friends,

These are tough times for all of us in libraries. We want to maintain as much access to our resources and services as possible to help support our communities, but we must also realize that public health is paramount. 

The Iowa Library Association (ILA) realizes that any decision to close a library should be a local decision and that the library leaders should work with their local city & county leaders on the best course of action. That being said, ILA strongly recommends that public libraries and academic libraries suspend public operations and consider closing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus

We, the leaders of ILA, make this suggestion based on the fact that Iowa has direct evidence of the community spread of novel coronavirus, the CDC has unveiled new guidelines that suggest no gatherings of 50 or more people for the next 8 weeks, the Governor of Iowa has strongly recommended closing schools for the next 4 weeks, and Mayor Cownie of Des Moines (the largest city in our state) has declared a state of emergency. Even in our smallest communities and small libraries the chance of community spread is possible. We realize the impact closing your libraries will have on all communities but especially those in the small towns. Despite the impact to towns and cities we still feel an abundance of caution is warranted. 

This is not an easy suggestion to make and that is because we serve the public and help the public stay informed, stay engaged, and stay happy. Our libraries are, as sociologist Eric Klinenberg called them, “palaces for the people.” However, we need to make informed decisions for our communities to make sure they remain healthy going forward. 

Please continue to monitor the Iowa Department of Public Health’s website for more information about the outbreak and ALA’s guidelines for pandemic preparedness

If you need to reach the ILA Offices, please note that our office has decided to follow the Federal Government and implement a “Maximum Telework Program” for all staff starting today. This program may continue through April 17th, but staff have the ability to end it early if conditions improve based on CDC recommendations.

Although staff will be working remotely there will be absolutely no interruption of service to you, as members of ILA. Key staff will be coming into the office to collect the mail and process checks as appropriate. You can continue to reach ILA staff via email and by phone at their extensions:

Randi Malone - ILA Executive Director - 515.868.0400
randim@iowalibraryassociation.org 

Jeremy Clark - ILA Membership and Meetings Director - 515.868.0424
jeremyc@iowalibraryassociation.org 

Please feel free to reach out to staff with questions at any time.