Public Libraries Respond to COVID-19: Free Webinar Series

Public Libraries Respond to COVID-19: A free PLA webinar series

PLA is committed to providing information on the rapidly evolving situation with COVID-19 to PLA members and others working in public libraries. This series of free webinars, originally presented March 26–April 23, 2020, featured updates on the current status of the pandemic, examples of how libraries are dealing with closures and serving their communities virtually, and opportunities to share and learn from each other. A link to each webinar's recording is available below.

Public Libraries Respond to COVID-19: The Current Landscape
Thursday, 3/26/2020

What are public libraries doing in response to COVID-19? How are they making decisions? Where are they getting information, and how are they sharing it with their communities? Participants of this webinar will learn about the current public library landscape amidst COVID-19 and hear from library leaders about what they’ve done.

Patrick Losinski, Chief Executive Officer, Columbus (OH) Metropolitan Library
Patty Ross, Library Director at Puyallup (WA) Public Library
Larra Clark, PLA Deputy Director

Public Libraries Respond to COVID-19: Successful Ways to Work Remotely
Thursday, 4/2/2020

With library closures and mandated quarantines, public library staff may be struggling to transition from a public-facing role to working from home. In this webinar, participants will learn about software and technology options and gain best practices for being a successful remote employee or manager.

Cindy Fesemyer, Adult and Community Services Consultant, Public Library Development, Wisconsin Dept. of Public Instruction
Toby Greenwalt, Director, Digital Strategy & Technology Integration, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA
Larra Clark, PLA Deputy Director

Public Libraries Respond to COVID-19: Managing Stress and Anxiety
Thursday, 4/9/2020

In times of uncertainty, self-care needs to be a top priority. Library managers need to be thinking of the well-being of their staff, and staff need to be thinking of the well-being of their patrons. How do we manage stress and working with an anxious public during these difficult times? In this webinar, participants will hear from members of the PLA Social Worker Task Force on ways to approach self-care, prioritize well-being, and manage stress and anxiety.

Debra Keane, LCSW, Coordinator, Social Work, Jefferson County (CO) Public Library
Susan Voss-Rothmeier, LCSW, Project Respond Library Crisis Services, Multnomah County (OR) Library
Kathleen M. Hughes, PLA Manager, Publications

Public Libraries Respond to COVID-19: Innovative Solutions in Times of Crisis
Thursday, 4/16/2020

Public libraries are ever evolving to meet the needs of their communities. When doors are closed, how are libraries evolving to meet patrons where they are? What about planning for what comes next? Participants of this webinar will hear examples from library staff who have responded to this time of crisis with innovative solutions to services and programs.

Pam Sandlian Smith, Director, Anythink Libraries, Adams County, CO
Marcellus Turner, Executive Director and Chief Librarian, The Seattle (WA) Public Library
Kelvin Watson, Director of Libraries, Broward County (FL) Libraries Division
Mary Hirsh, PLA Deputy Director

Public Libraries Respond to COVID-19: National Survey Results
Wednesday, 4/22/2020

More than 2,500 public libraries responded to the broadest national survey of public library responses to the COVID-19 pandemic March 24–April 1. What did we learn about closures, services, and staffing that can help libraries understand how their peers are responding to the current crisis and plan for future recovery? How are organizations like PLA and ALA using this data, and what could you do with it? Because the landscape is changing so quickly, PLA plans to conduct another survey about this topic.

Linda Hofschire, Director, Library Research Service, Colorado State Library
Kolleen Taylor, Library Director, Bertha Bartlett Public Library, Story City, IA
Emily Plagman, PLA Manager, Impact and Advocacy

Public Libraries Respond to COVID-19: Strategies for Advancing Digital Equity Now
Thursday, 4/23/2020

More than 20 million people lack home broadband access at a time when virtually every aspect of our lives has a digital component. Public libraries have long been part of a digital equity solution with devices, internet access and technology training. What are libraries doing while our buildings are closed, and the need is greater than ever for people who are digitally disconnected? Speakers will share strategies ranging from amplifying WiFi signals to deploying mobile hotspots to mapping and publicizing public WiFi access. Participants will have the opportunity to share and ask questions.

Betsy Fowler, Director, Williamsburg (VA) Regional Library
Misty Hawkins, Director, Arkansas River Valley Regional Library
Julie Walker, Georgia State Librarian
Larra Clark, PLA Deputy Director

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of these on-demand webinars, participants will be able to:

  • Identify current responses from U.S. public libraries to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Understand the impacts that COVID-19 is having on public library staff and services; and
  • Gain confidence to implement innovative services and solutions to meet staff and patron needs.

Who Should Attend

These free on-demand webinars are intended for public library staff at all levels, with particular relevance for those in leadership and who plan programs.


Facilitators vary each webinar.



This on-demand webinars are free and available 24/7 for your viewing convenience.

How to Register

No registration is required.

Tech Requirements

To playback these archived webinars you should have either the latest version of Flash running on your computer, or use a browser with native HTML5 support. Please use the most up-to-date version available of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Internet Explorer. A fast Internet connection and computer is recommended.

Credits or CEUs

PLA does not award credit hours, or CEUs, for its on-demand webinars and cannot verify participation.


If you have questions or problems accessing a recording, send a message to or call 800-545-2433 ext. 5PLA (5752).