With the onset of COVID-19, working from home, and unforeseen disruption of many services, I would like to recognize the hard work and determination of New Jersey’s libraries. Thankfully today’s technologies have positioned us to access many information resources remotely. We are all striving to continue service delivery in the virtual environment.
However it is probable that many of us did not foresee the transformation that has transpired over the past week. While keeping an eye on what must be everyone’s highest level concern – that of containing and not spreading this virus when and where ever possible – in many cases we find ourselves overnight totally reinventing how we do business.
We have heard from many of you about the essential work you are doing under these most difficult of circumstances. Employees at all New Jersey libraries are to be commended for remaining dedicated to providing library service to your communities, while at the same time adhering to the restrictions put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19 by keeping our staff and patrons safe.
Fulfilling the information needs of our patrons is extremely important. However, compliance with social distancing mandates is imperative to stop the spread of COVID-19. We must also be mindful and careful when handling items that may have been contaminated with the virus. Please take a look at this helpful list of Resources for Disinfecting and Quarantining Library Materials from ALA, the CDC, and other institutions.
Thank you all for balancing these priorities and doing all you can do to keep the people of the state as safe and well informed as possible.
Thank you ALL!!
Though the State Library does not have the authority to direct public libraries to close during this health crisis, the New Jersey State Library supports a library’s decision to close physical library buildings and to shift staff focus for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak. We acknowledge that COVID-19 is a public health crisis and libraries should do their part to reduce the potential for spread. That said, this health crisis affects more than just the physical health of those who are sickened, it is affecting the social, emotional, educational and economic health of all of us. These concerns are ones in which libraries, too, must do their part to mitigate. Rather than halt services, the State Library encourages library staff to continue to provide library services to the extent possible through:
- Online and telephone reference services
- Online programming, especially in support of students and families impacted by school closures and homeschoolers
- Increased provision of E content services
- Social media outreach and community engagement
- Other services identified as essential to your communities
Any decision to close physical buildings should be informed by current information from local officials and in consideration of the impacts to staff and patrons. While it may be necessary to limit physical access to our buildings, our libraries strive to do what we can to ensure the well-being of our patrons and communities.
Please continue to visit the State Library’s COVID-19 lib guide: https://libguides.njstatelib.org/covid2019. The State Library is operational and available to assist you with any service questions or concerns.
Mary Chute, State Librarian
New Jersey State Library
609-278-2640 ext. 101
When planning a response to COVID-19, libraries should consult their local governments and local Boards of Health for guidance and advice.
Other key resources include:
Note, as a precautionary measure, the State Library Information Center has canceled all in person programming and classes through April 17th. However, by statute, we are operational and providing services as long as the state government is open.
Update on Library Delivery
- LibraryLinkNJ has suspended all deliveries effective, March 17. Please see librarylinknj.org for further information.
- Libraries that are closing should use their vacation settings to reflect that. Libraries that remain open can still receive ILLs from out of state libraries (those that remain open) by mail.
- Libraries who had scheduled trainings will be notified that all trainings have been postponed.
Updated: March 18, 2020