Next week will mark one year since many of our organizations transitioned to remote or semi remote work in light of the pandemic. It’s been a trying year with many changes and demands on our physical, mental, and emotional health. I find myself often in awe of the good work, adaptations, and commitment you’ve all made to yourselves, your staff, and your communities. 


As Massachusetts plans to enters into Step 1, Phase 4 on March 22, 2021, of their reopening plan, the MBLC and MLS reopening team has been reviewing documents and questions about what this means for our libraries. The general guidelines, among other things, names:


• Gathering limits for event venues and in public settings will increase to 100 people indoors and 150 people outdoors. Outdoor gatherings at private residences and in private backyards will remain at a maximum of 25 people, with indoor house gatherings remaining at 10 people.

• Residents must continue to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and are encouraged to avoid contact outside of their immediate households. The Travel Advisory and other public health orders remain in effect.


The MA Safety Standards and Guidelines for Libraries were updated for March 1, 2021. It’s possible that it will be updated again for March 22, and we will share that news when we receive it. Among the most notable guidelines:


• Require face coverings for all workers and patrons, except where unsafe due to                medical condition or disability


• All public computers and other shared technology and equipment accessible to multiple users must be wiped down and disinfected between uses. Provide disinfectant wipes at each work station for patrons to wipe down equipment after use


• Books and other materials should be placed in marked containers after patron handling or return and subject to 24-hour quarantine before being returned to shelves by library workers


I encourage you to read all the guidelines at the above link, and share them with your staff, boards, and local officials. The state has also created a checklist to help you manage all the information. You’ll also find additional resources and information, including printable signs and sample policies,  on our COVID-19 Resource Guide.  


We continue to monitor all information and share as we hear of any news. 


Please read more about MLS activities, including our monthly update (also attached here) on our resource guide.


Sarah Sogigian