Reopening During a Pandemic: Responses to Library COVID-19 Policies*


  • Amy An


In the summer and fall of 2020, it was not clear what patron reaction would be to library COVID-19 safety policies and protocols. Despite reports from the American Library Association, the Public Library, Association, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services detailing the new library services being offered and suggestions about policies and protocols to keep library staff and patrons protected, no one knew how patrons would react. News stories about people coughing, spitting, and attacking front line staff in grocery stores and even medical responders raised the concern that this could be repeated in libraries. This paper attempts to fill that gap with a survey sent through the Florida Library Association listserv about COVID-19 related changes to library services and policies and to COVID-19 related incidents. Key findings were that libraries need to prepare for patrons arguing with each other, staff are more satisfied with their library’s COVID-19 policies when they have input, and rural libraries were least satisfied with their policies even when they had input.





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