The Trustee Corner is a monthly series featuring information of interest to public library boards. Topics include training opportunities, legal issues, helpful information, and relevant news impacting public library governance. The information included in this newsletter is for informational purposes, and does not constitute legal or financial advice. Please consult your library’s attorney with any questions about your specific situation.
This issue of the Trustee Corner continues to share resources and information for library boards related to the COVID-19 Pandemic and how it is having an impact on public libraries. If your library board is in need of support during this time, please email the State Library.
In this issue:
- Restoration of Library Services During COVID-19
- Accessibility for Virtual Library Programs
- COVID-19 Recorded Webinars for Trustees
- Trustee Award Nominations
- United for Libraries Discussion Forums for Trustees
- Share Your Library’s Story
Restoration of Library Services During COVID-19
As the State of Colorado transitions from “Stay at Home” to “Safer at Home,” public libraries are working on their plans to gradually restore physical library services for the community. At the same time, library leadesr are also acknowledging that library services will not look the same when libraries begin to reopen, and that many virtual and distanced services will remain the norm for the foreseeable future. Library boards may be called upon to help set new policy to guide operations in this next phase of our “new normal.”
The Colorado State Library is not able to provide recommendations for how libraries should operate in response to COVID-19. However, we have compiled resources from the State of Colorado, State Libraries of other states, and reputable resources from a range of library associations and professional organizations, to aid in your decision making processes. This resource guide is being updated regularly, and is broken down into categories that align with the Colorado Public Library Standards. Bookmark Restoration of Library Services During COVID-19: Resources for Decision Makers now for easy access next time you need it.
Here are just a few of the resources included in this guide:
- Resources on COVID-19 (Public Library Association)
- Public Health Guidance & Resources for COVID-19 (State of Colorado)
- Returning to Service: Libraries & COVID-19 (Colorado Library Consortium)
- Plan for Moving Towards Full Service (Utah State Library)
- Reopening Archives, Libraries and Museums (REALM) Information Hub: A COVID-19 Research Project (WebJunction)
- Protecting Privacy in a Pandemic: A Resource Guide (Choose Privacy)
Accessibility for Virtual Library Programs
In response to COVID-19 library closures, many libraries are beginning to offer more virtual library programs such as storytimes, book clubs, and trivia games. As they do this, library staff are also looking into issues related to accessibility. Having virtual programs increases accessibility for people who might otherwise not have been able to make it to the library at a particular time. At the same time, it presents new accessibility issues for people with disabilities and people who are learning English as a second language. The Colorado State Library recently hosted a webinar for library staff on how to make online library experiences more accessible. Virtual library programs have been reported to be very popular with library patrons, and it is likely that many libraries will continue virtual programming into the future.
So what does this mean for library boards? It might be a good idea to look at your library’s policies related to accessibility and programming, and make any necessary updates to help guide library operations. Here are some resources, guidance, and supporting information that may help library boards to better understand this policy issue:
- Trustee Corner: January 2020 (Focus on Policy Development)
- Library Bill of Rights (American Library Association)
- Services to People with Disabilities: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights (American Library Association)
- Universal Access (Public Library Association)
- Virtual Programming and Patron Privacy (Association for Library Service to Children)
- What If Accessibility is a Right, Not a Request? (Colorado Librarians for Early Literacy)
When considering policy updates, keep in mind that you may not need an entirely new policy, but could potentially add to an existing policy. The Mesa County Library District address accessibility to library resources in their Non-Discrimination Policy. The Pikes Peak Library District has adopted the ALA Library Bill of Rights and other official statements in their Access to Materials Policy. Accessibility may also be addressed in a library’s programming policy, or in a separate accessibility policy. Additional sample policies on a range of topics are available on the Colorado State Library website. It is always a good idea to have policy changes reviewed by an attorney familiar with library law, as well as other state and federal laws, before board approval and adoption.
COVID-19 Recorded Webinars for Trustees
There have been many free library webinars related to COVID-19 in the past few months. Several of those are relevant to library trustees and library supporters. Click the links below to access the recordings.
- Working Together, Planning for Reopening: Policy and Legal Issues for Reopening a Public Library (United for Libraries)
- Advocacy for Your Library During a Crisis (United for Libraries)
- How Foundations and Friends Can Support Their Libraries During COVID-19 (United for Libraries)
- Public Libraries Respond to COVID-19: Strategies for Advancing Digital Equity Now (Public Library Association)
- SBA Paycheck Protection Program Issues for Museums and Libraries (Institute for Museum & Library Services)
Trustee Award Nominations
CAL Outstanding Library Trustee
The Colorado Association of Libraries (CAL) recognizes exemplary service by a library trustee who has served their library and their community with distinction as a member of a library board. This award is open to any library board member, governing or advisory, who is currently serving or has served during the two years prior to nomination. CAL has several awards recognizing library workers and library project. Nominations close July 1. Award descriptions and details can be found on the CAL website. If you have any questions about CAL awards, email Katherine Weadley.
SDA Board Member of the Year
Each year the Special District Association (SDA) recognizes one outstanding individual with an award for Board Member of the Year. Many individuals who serve as Board Members of special districts have made exceptional contributions to their district and community. There is also an award for one outstanding special district Manager of the Year. Nominations are due Friday May 22. If you have any questions about SDA awards, email Anthoney Sandoval.
United for Libraries Discussion Forums for Trustees
COVID-19 is impacting libraries nationwide. In this time of uncertainty, United for Libraries has opened their online discussion forums to provide Boards of Trustees, Friends Groups, and Library Foundations across the country a place to share best practices, ask questions, seek feedback, and more. From March 19, 2020, to June 30, 2020, the United for Libraries membership requirement to participate in online discussion forums will be waived.
Fill out this form on the United for Libraries website to sign up for one or more United for Libraries discussion forums.
Share Your Library’s Story
How is your library’s board responding to COVID-19? What are your trustees doing to advocate for the library during these difficult times? Email Crystal Schimpf to share your story.