With COVID-19 gripping our nation we are now faced with so much uncertainty.   We hope you are all keeping safe and well. We know some libraries have already closed their buildings, others may be winding down now, whilst some of those still open may be taking the lead from their local authorities.

We have pulled together a few links to government and NHS guidelines (many of you may have seen most of these links already) and to national agencies plus practical ideas from some Network members during these very difficult times.

Government Guidance

Other Useful Information

The following links take you to very useful information from the Arts Council, Libraries Connected and NCVO.

Hygiene Precautions

For those who are still open, some CMLs

  • are displaying official guidance about the virus in their building
  • have increased hygiene precautions such as encouraging people to use sanitisers when they enter the building, daily cleaning of the building and touched surfaces eg computers, stairs, tables etc with help from volunteers
  • wipe down books before delivery
  • wearing of gloves when handling or delivering books
  • have made keyboard wipes available
  • have provided hand towels & have plenty of liquid soap
  • exploring hygiene precautions to implement when they re-open to avoid future spread of the virus plus new sustainable approaches to delivering services in the community.  We would love to hear from you if you are doing this, it will be great to share your ideas/experiences with the Network. Contact info@communitylibrariesnetwork.org

Where plans are being made for closure

  • Prepare information for staff, volunteers – this should be happening regularly with updates on the current situation, plans existing and the future (if available)
  • Plan for newsletters / posters just in case (with information about closure, returning & renewing books)
  • Plan communication for key contacts, suppliers, partners, organisations about the closure and returning
  • Conduct an organisational and financial impact assessment, this will help determine the impact of the crisis on the organisation, it will also inform plans/actions to be taken when business resumes. If you have tools you are using for these assessments and are willing to share to help others please email info@communitylibrariesnetwork.org.

Volunteers and Staff

The safety of volunteers, staff and our community is paramount and all actions or decisions we take should consider their health, wellbeing and safety.

Ensuring adequate support and communication for our volunteers and staff is important, and some CMLs are exploring ways to stay connected and engaged with older and more vulnerable volunteers when the building is closed. We have captured a few of those below (these ideas also apply to the community, library and service users):

  • Organise online events – these should be promoted through normal networks
  • Live streaming of events which people would normally access from the building eg drawing activities, activities for children, toddlers and babies, music events, digital inclusion, English classes
  • Delivery of books to people’s homes – mobile libraries
  • Online reading group activities
  • Regular e-newsletters and information on social media – to keep people updated, invite comments, ideas and offer encouragement
  • A series of topics suggested by staff, volunteers or the community which are then discussed or debated online eg via Skype
  • Setting up Whatsapp groups to stay connected with staff, volunteers and vulnerable groups in our community who use the library services
  • Putting up posters and information materials, signposting people to support organisations in the community or at national level who can help people who feel isolated, lonely or disconnected from family and friends
  • Find out about other activities taking place in your community, and share them online, on your website, social media or via newsletters.  We were sent this link of online cultural events that people can access whilst stuck at home and you may wish to signpost your colleagues, community/users to these events. How to https://twitter.com/LBBuryS/status/1239504366220034053

Daily Essentials

A trustee from one CML shared some interesting information about daily essentials particularly with so many people now emptying supermarket shelves.  If you or someone you know is interested in getting hold of surplus food that would otherwise be going to waste, you can download some of the apps below for further information:

Update on our CML Online Forum

Our online forum is taking shape nicely and we will let you know when it is ready so we can start using it to share our experiences, learning, ask questions and seek advice/support from our peers.

Thank you for your support and we will stay in touch.