Leadership during COVID-19: Pivoting from Reactive Survival to Proactive Planning for the Future

Graphic representation of two people working a puzzle shaped like coronavirus

The pandemic flipped the world upside down, forcing libraries to close doors, stop lending, and halt programs and services. Public libraries have since been in survival mode, quickly adapting with health protocols, virtual programs, and curbside services. As libraries prepare for the ”next normal” of life after shutdowns, library leaders can make the most of this rare moment by pivoting from a reactive state to a proactive one that is built upon a foundation of clear strategy and intention.

In this on-demand webinar, learn to rethink organizational structure, priorities, and workflow to overcome traditional and systemic challenges and create more nimble teams. Using the ”five C’s” of crisis leadership—candor, compassion, courage, commitment, and communication—libraries can build trust and establish relationships needed to confidently motivate their teams forward, maintaining positive adaptations from the pandemic while reimagining past practices and redefining purpose and priorities to emerge even stronger and more relevant to their communities.

Originally presented May 11, 2021.

Access to an auto-captioned version in Zoom is available with purchase.

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this on-demand webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Identify and apply the “five C’s” of crisis leadership to their unique situations and organizations;
  • Apply leadership ideas to build trust and establish relationships with staff and the community; and
  • Identify the importance of shared purpose and collective action in motivating and unifying teams.

Who Should Attend

The on-demand webinar is relevant to public library directors, administrators, and managers leading teams during these uncertain times. However, the topic will also appeal to other public library staff and encourage all to lead from any level within their organizations.


Krista RiggsKrista Riggs is library director of Madera County (CA) Library. She hails from the neighboring Fresno County in California’s diverse Central Valley, where she served as children’s librarian for ten years before supervising the programming, marketing, and eservices departments. Krista is proud to be one of seven librarians on the ”Library Ambassadors” team for the Harwood Institute of Public Innovation, believing strongly in the importance of community conversations to gain public knowledge and guide decisions. She actively serves on committees for the California Library Association and the Core and Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) divisions of the American Library Association. Krista especially enjoys being co-chair of ALSC’s Managing Children’s Services Committee this year and writing the “Best Practices” column for PLA’s journal, Public Libraries.

Connie UrquhartConnie Urquhart is a small-town public library director focused on working with individuals, groups, and elected officials to bring her community of Camas, WA together. A trained facilitator, Connie enjoys helping people navigate through tough conversations. She is the author of several articles and the co-author of Risky Business: Taking and Managing Risks in Library Services for Teens.



Individual – PLA Personal Member $33.00
Individual – ALA Personal Member/Nonmember $49.00
Group* $199.00


* Group rate is for single library access, including all its branches/outlets. It applies if an on-demand webinar will be viewed by multiple people—viewing on an individual basis and/or in groups. Please contact plawebinars@ala.org for special pricing if you wish to share access to an on-demand webinar across multiple libraries in a consortium.

How to Register

Please note: As ALA transitions to a new, centralized eLearning site, this on-demand webinar is temporarily unavailable for purchase. If you’d like to purchase access to this on-demand webinar, please contact PLA at plawebinars@ala.org and we will follow up with you when this product is available on the new eLearning site.

Tech Requirements

To playback an archived webinar 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, CEUs, or certificates of attendance/completion/participation for its on-demand webinars and cannot verify participation.


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