Coronavirus (COVID -19)

News and Updates | Guidelines for LibrariesLearning Opportunities

The situation with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is evolving daily. Please see updates below. The OLC is continuing to monitor the latest information related to COVID-19 and is working with Governor’s Office and the Ohio Department of Health (ODH).

OLC is encouraging all of its members to take this opportunity to highlight your digital resources, WiFi capabilities outside of your buildings, reference services by phone or email, etc. A number of these resources are highlighted on the OLC website.


State Level: 

Emergency Legislation
Summary of emergency legislation (House Bill 197) passed unanimously by the Ohio Legislature and signed by Gov. DeWine on March 27. Includes information on Open Meetings Act Law changes.

Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Director Dr. Amy Acton have announced many decisions to slow the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Ohio Department of Health website
1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634) 

Libraries Can Help Prevent Panic
Public libraries can help prevent panic, provide accurate information, and quell rumors and misinformation about the virus. The ODH website has a number of resources available, including a new FAQ fact sheet and infographic that you can share on your library’s website and social media pages.

Libraries Should Work with Local Health Districts
The OLC is encouraging libraries to continue to work with their county health departments who have the most up-to-date information for your local community.

UPDATE 3/19/20:  OLC Board Recommends Libraries Close Temporarily

Federal Level:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website
Official site for the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

UPDATE 3/16/20: 15 Days to the Stop the Spread (PDF)

ODH Recommendations
The Ohio Department of Health is recommending the following precautions for public settings:

  • Provide supplies such as soap, hand sanitizer, tissues, wipes, and trash cans within your buildings.
  • Clean high-touch surfaces and objects often with disinfectant sprays or wipes. This includes counters, tabletops, doorknobs, keyboards, etc.

UPDATE 3/23/20: All of Ohio’s public libraries are now closed to the public. The OLC has put together a list of what is still available to Ohio library cardholders 24/7.

Libraries should consider — UPDATE 3/19/20: Libraries should consider CLOSING temporarily

  • Increasing space between desk chairs and computers to at least 6 feet – in both public and private areas of the library.
  • Removing children’s toys temporarily.
  • Reviewing policies on returning books and waiving fines (if you still have fines in place).
  • Make sure you have enough cleaning supplies (disinfectant sprays and wipes) on hand, paper products, hand sanitizer.
  • Review your library’s cleaning schedules and procedures.
To Keep Yourself Healthy
ODH advises that people follow the usual recommendations for reducing their risk of infection for other illnesses, such as influenza. These recommendations include:
  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds or more with soapy water. If unavailable, use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home while you are sick (except to visit a health care professional) and to avoid contact with others.
  • Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing.
  • Get adequate sleep and eat well-balanced meals to ensure a healthy immune system.

Learning Opportunities for Public Library Staff:

The Public Library Association (PLA) is offering a free webinar series featuring examples of how libraries are dealing with closures and serving their communities virtually. These webinars are free, but separate registration for each live webinar is required. Please note that these webinars will be recorded and posted on PLA’s On-Demand Webinar page.

American Library Association (ALA) COVID-19 Resources for Libraries

Institute of Museum and Library Services Resources for Libraries