In 2020, libraries of all types stepped up to meet the needs of their communities as they responded to the impacts of COVID-19, a national financial crisis, and social unrest. They were at the center of some of our nation’s most consequential work, including supporting accurate counts in the US Census, fighting political disinformation, and facilitating free and fair elections.
Libraries also extended necessary lifelines to community members facing job losses, healthcare crises, and remote work and learning during an unprecedented and uncertain time. As we assess the state of America’s libraries, we find 2020 was a year when library professionals answered the call to serve amid multiple emergencies and a year when library workers again proved to be essential “first restorers” or “second responders.”
Read more about libraries' response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2020 in the State of America's Libraries 2021 Special Report: COVID-19.
Libraries kept Americans connected in ways that brought our communities closer. Buildings may not have been open, but libraries were never closed.
—ALA President Julius C. Jefferson, Jr.
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