(Please note, this is not a complete list, but serves as a snapshot of what’s happening across different library environments in Texas. Services and news are changing quickly.)
Services to Consider
- Keep your Library’s WiFi on 24/7 if not already. Enables safe social distance and does not put library staff at risk. Purchase repeaters or extenders. [External link for more information]
- Promote electronic resources via social media campaigns. Consider taking out ads to boost messages.
- Collect and promote low-cost internet service; find offers in your area: https://www.everyoneon.org/find-offers.
- Claim your library in Google searches and on Yelp, to keep your library hours current. Use this tutorial from WebJunction to do it.
- If your library has old laptops that do not currently circulate, consider checking them out either to patrons or places where the digital divide will be felt the most, such as senior centers, nursing homes, shelters, housing authorities, etc.
- Re-evaluate what is needed to obtain library cards; can patrons receive and sign-up for cards and be confirmed electronically?
- Share (or devise) a local guide to resources (like this one), as well as pointing out national reputable sources.
- Take this opportunity to promote the Census, since everyone is home. You can answer the Census via phone, and it’s available in 50+ languages. Visit our Census webpage to find TX resources.
- Extend due dates, suspend fines;
- Many ILSs are sending out specific information on how to change item records for special scenarios. Contact your ILS vendor if you need assistance.
- Quarantine returned items per the latest medical guidelines or at least note that these items were received.
- Make accessible large print collections for seniors (CTLS has a circulating collection, but circulation is currently paused). Promote information on how to enlarge print on eReaders or other devices.
- Extend due dates, suspend fines;
For library staff:
- Identify projects for staff to work on from home.
- Ensure they have digital literacy skills and the software/hardware and bandwidth to do so.
- If staff have low digital literacy skills, use this as professional development time to work through online digital literacy tutorials:
- Technology literacy tutorials are abundant and can be found on sites like: WebJunction (free for Texas library staff), GCFLearnFree.org, TSLAC’s Online Learning and Archived Webinars.
- Provide FAQ for telecommuting, specifying how to use different tools, ensuring staff have software/hardware that is needed, and the institution has enough licenses for all who need them. For example, use Quick Steps to Prepare a Remote Work Policy.
- Have staff browse and complete TSLAC’s archived webinars and courses.
- List of potential software/hardware that staff will need for telecommuting: strong internet connection (test your bandwidth here ); computer, laptop, tablet; headphones with mic or access to phone; webcam; access to some sort of telecommuting software:
- Review this comparison of teleconferencing software.
- Two companies currently have COVID-19 specific resources available:
If your library is still open:
- The State Library does not have authority to order library closures or openings. The decision to close your library remains a local one, and libraries should look for guidance from their city. However, libraries should consider Governor Abbott’s executive orders limiting person-to-person contact (and continue to check back for new orders and updates from the Office of the Governor). In addition, current research is still in its infancy about the period of time that the virus can exist on materials. Libraries should consider speaking to an attorney to discuss potential liability and risks from lending materials.
Texas Statewide Resources
- To assist small businesses with loans: Federal Disaster Assistance (includes Texas).
- Read this article summarizing the plan (Texas Tribune).
- Assistance for the newly unemployed, with unemployment benefits and sick leave (Texas Workforce Commission).
- To connect with your local senior population, visit the Area Councils on Aging website: Find organizations by county.
- To find free meals for school children: Texas Education Association Food Map.
- More information: https://txschools.gov/ .
- To understand the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201)(PDF download):
- Extends amount of sick leave pay for employers with less than 500 staff; includes government employees currently without two weeks sick leave.
- Resources to connect local governments: Coronavirus Crisis Response: Resources for Your Community (International City/County Management Association).
- Including Quick Steps to Prepare a Remote Work Policy.
- To find local and county health services: Where Can I Find Services? Dial 211 for local resources and organizations (Texas Health and Human Services).
- To research and debunk misinformation: Fighting Fake News in the Pandemic (ALA Programming Librarian).
- Tocker Foundation grant deadline: https://tocker.org/grant-application-process/. WiFi hotspots are eligible, though many companies are currently listing hotspots as backordered.
- You might also consider low-cost refurbished computers and laptops from PCsForPeople and TechAnew (Texas).
- Libraries that are considering the purchase of hotspots but are finding limited availability could consider purchasing mobile phones and using the hotspot feature.
Visit the Library Development and Networking COVID-19 page to stay up-to-date on services and programs in this quickly changing environment.
Need assistance? Staff in Library Development and Networking are still here for you! Contact us directly or email our shared email address at email@example.com and your message will be connected with the right person. We’ll get through this!