Dear MLS Members,

As mentioned previously, MLS is working closely with the MBLC to develop guidelines to help you prepare your library for the next stage of this pandemic. Guidelines will be shared as soon as possible, and you’ll be able to read the notes from each of our network sessions (link forthcoming).

We support the MBLC’s recent statement (see below) and we would like to add the following:

  • We strongly encourage libraries, municipalities, and organizations to prioritize and advocate for retaining library staff during this crisis. Libraries will play an essential role in helping Massachusetts communities recover from this emergency, and we need to be ready to come charging back at full strength. This is the time to assess which services will be most critical to your communities in the near term, remind your stakeholders of the importance of those services, and develop strategies to begin providing them as soon as it is safe to do so.
  • We recommend working closely with your governing boards, municipal and institutional leaders, and local Boards of Health to develop a plan of service that prioritizes the safety of library staff and library patrons above all else. Furthermore, if your library is able to remain closed until the state provides further guidance on how libraries can safely resume operations — including beyond the expiration of the Governor’s just announced stay-at-home order extension on May 18th — we strongly encourage you to do that.

MLS is appreciative and supportive of earlier statements from our partner organizations, MLA and the MBLC. We will continue to work together with our partners to ensure the safety of library staff and patrons and to promote the critical work libraries do. We also invite you to take a look at our COVID-19 Resource Guide, where you’ll find sample Pandemic Policies and Plans, Continuation of Operations support, and Online Library Training Resources

MLS Executive Director Sarah Sogigian and the MLS Executive Board