ILA Statement On Library ClosuresMarch 16, 2020
3/16/2020 ILA Statement on Library Closures
In light of Governor Pritzker's recent closing of Illinois public schools, restaurants, and bars, his disaster proclamation, and recommendation to avoid large gatherings, as well as the news that cases of COVID-19 are appearing in more areas of the state, the Illinois Library Association recommends that public libraries, and academic libraries on campuses that have otherwise closed, in Illinois suspend public operations, including closing for a period of time.
While normally public libraries may invite children to come to the library in the event of an emergency school closing, this is not the best course of action when trying to curb a contagious disease. Because containment works best when all organizations participate, many libraries and other cultural organizations are deciding to close while the schools are closed.
Libraries are a gathering place in the community and on campus, frequently bringing together significant numbers of people. In order to minimize opportunities for transmission, and to protect both community members' health and library employees, the best service we can offer is protecting our community with social distancing, canceling programs, extra cleanings, and closing, regardless of whether there are known cases in your library's service area or on your campus.
Ultimately, barring a government mandate, the decision to close must be made at the local level; ILA also recommends that every library monitor the guidance issued from the Illinois Department of Public Health.