Protect Library Workers

We're fighting to help library workers during the COVID-19 crisis.

Sign our petition and support these demands

Library workers care deeply about the communities we serve, which includes doing our part to keep our patrons and ourselves safe during this pandemic. Libraries serve as important community hubs for connection and learning. They are busy, well-loved spaces, which is why their closure has been so critical in the time of coronavirus. Community spaces like libraries could easily become infection zones, and libraries around the country have taken the difficult but necessary action of closing down for the sake of broader community health.

As the discussion has moved from closures to considerations for reopenings, library workers are starting to think about what safely returning to physical work may be like. On a routine work day, library workers handle materials, touch surfaces, share computers, assist with technology use, clean all manner of messes, and conduct checkout and reference transactions, all typically from much less than six feet away. Without proper health and safety measures in place, libraries could easily become breeding grounds for the virus.

In order to ensure the health and safety of our communities and ourselves, we demand the following measures be taken before any libraries are reopened:

Libraries across the country are tried-and-true economic and workforce development hubs. The economic recovery depends immeasurably on the health of library workers and the continued existence of their positions as the work begins. If it is not safe to resume physical operations, workers can still provide online services to people in need, especially unemployment and other social benefits. We can bridge digital divides safely by extending WiFi access to parking lots and working with other municipal departments to do so through other creative means, such as turning decommissioned school buses into mobile WiFi hubs and providing devices to the underserved. As libraries contend with their many incompatibilities with social distancing, they need to have their energy freed up for efforts to reconfigure and redistribute what public space is right now.

Libraries will be necessary and important to their communities as we begin to strategize and recover from this crisis. It's time to treat library staff as if we are necessary and important, too.

Sign our petition and support these demands

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