Planning for Reopening Resources

ALA recognizes that factors impacting libraries' reopening processes will vary based on library type and location, yet there are many common criteria that all libraries will consider, from thoughtful training and phasing-in of onsite services, to health and safety measures that protect staff and community. Decisions about reopening will be made locally. This page is a resource for states and individual libraries planning for reopening. Check back for updates.

Planning for Reopening: A Checklist | Webinars and Programs | ALA Resources | State Planning Documents | International Guides or Resources | Additional Resources


Planning for Reopening: A Checklist

(A downloadable PDF of the checklist is available here.)


__ Federal, state, local executive orders
__ Federal, state, local health department guidance
__ REALM Project research findings
__ Federal, state, local government reopening plans
__ Intergovernmental cooperation agreements (formal or informal)
__ Administrative unit plans
__ State library, library association, and consortium guidance
__ Library patron confidentiality laws
__ Board and staff engagement
__ Legal consultation



__ Refinement of library policies
__ Facilities cleaning
__ Facilities modifications
__ Protective equipment/supply needs
__ Materials handling
__ Staff training
__ Phased opening of building for staff 
__ Phased opening of building for community
__ Prioritized resumption of services
__ Long term program and service adaptations
__ Consortial agreements
__ Internal communications
__ External communications
__ Recalibration/adjustment triggers


Webinars and Programs

Moving Forward: Key Findings from New Libraries' COVID-19 Response Survey (6/12/2020). 

The Library Community Moving Forward in the New Normal (6/4/2020).

Working Together on Planning, Policy and Legal Issues for Reopening a Public Library: The Board, the Attorney and the Librarian (5/15/2020)

Looking Forward: Planning for Reopening, a conversation with librarians (4/24/2020)


ALA Resources

AASL Pandemic Resources for School Librarians

ACRL Pandemic Resources for Academic Libraries

ALA ALCTS-Handling Library Materials and Collections During a Pandemic

ALA COVID response home page

Libraries as Safe Haven: Disaster Planning Response and Recovery-now available free from the ALA Store

PLA Resources on COVID-19

Protecting Privacy in a Pandemic: A Resource Guide from ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom


State Planning Documents

Alabama Public Library Service-Library Reopening Tip Kit

California State Library-Restoring In-Person Services in California’s Libraries

Colorado Library Consortium's Returning to Service: Libraries and COVID-19

Connecticut Libraries Roadmap to Reopening and Recovery

Georgia Regents Public Library Advisory Council-Recommendation for Library Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Indiana Library Federation-Plan Outline in Phases: From Library Closure to Reopening - COVID-19 Global Pandemic

Massachusetts Library System-Reopening Massachusetts Libraries

Maryland State Library-Handing Materials During COVID-19

Missouri State Library-Missouri Libraries Reopening Guidelines

Montana State Library-COVID 19: Reopening and Reentry for Libraries

Nebraska Library Commission-Phased Plan for Reopening of Nebraska Libraries

New Hampshire-Reopening NH Libraries Task Force Best Practices Document

New Jersey State Library-COVID-19 Pandemic Resources and Plan for Library Reopening

New Mexico State Library-Public Services Return to Work/Library Re-Opening Plan

Ohio Library Council-Best Practices for Ohio's Public Libraries under COVID-19

Pennsylvania-Office of Commonwealth Libraries Framework for Reopening Public Libraries

Rhode Island-Ocean State Libraries' Ropening R.I. Libraries

South Carolina State Library-Coronavirus: Reopening Guide for Public Libraries

Texas State Library and Archives Commission-Reopening Libraries: Resource Guide

Utah State Library-Utah Libraries Plan for Moving Towards Full Service

Vermont Department of Libraries-Reopening Information

West Virginia Library Commission-Guidance Statement on Reopening the Library

Wisconsin Guidelines for Opening WI Public Libraries: Timeline

*Please note that some of the state planning documents are working documents, i.e., not final plans.


State Planning Documents for Schools

Indiana Library Federation-Reopening School Libraries Safely

South Carolina Department of Education-Guidance and Recommendations for 2020-21 School Year


International Guidelines or Resources

BiblioSuisse-Model Protection Plan: Reopening Libraries

Netherlands Public Library Association-Phased Opening of Libraries protocol

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)-COVID-19 and the Global Library Field


Additional Resources

American Industrial Hygiene Association Reopening Guidance for Libraries

CDC guidelines and information

Demco-How to Quarantine Books in Your School Library

Heritage Emergency National Task Force (HENTF)-COVID-19 Resource Hub

IMLS Announces COVID Research Partnership (4/22/2020)

IMLS & CDC Webinar (4/2/2020)-Mitigating COVID-19 When Managing Paper-Based, Circulating, and Other Types of Collections

OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19

US EEOC Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and Americans with Disabilities Act 

US Chamber of Commerce State-by-State Business Reopening Guidance



Megan Cusick
Assistant Director, State Advocacy