COVID-19 Update -- March 25, 2021

March 25, 2021

Vaccine eligibility status seems to change on a near-daily basis, and as we know, eligibility does not always translate into availability. ILA is continuing to monitor information from the CDC, the IDPH, and Illinois counties. Illinois recently deemed "government workers" as eligible in Phase 1b and we've received many questions about whether library workers are considered "government workers."

According to the Illinois State Library, while the IDPH does not specifically reference library workers, neither does the governmental worker category for COVID vaccination appear to have any limitation as to a local, county, or state level or any exclusion as to a primary and component unit of government; therefore, public librarians should not now have difficulty in registering for vaccination. Here is additional information from ISL:

  • Public libraries and public library districts are governmental units.
  • Libraries organized under the Illinois Local Library Act are generally considered component units of the municipality that caused action for their establishment.
  • Library districts that were created under the Public Library District of 1991 or a prior law of the state are governmental units responsible for their own maintenance and operation, including reporting to the state as a special district authorized in statute.
  • Even the library systems are special governmental units authorized in statute.  
  • The City of Chicago has its own plan to include library workers as eligible as of March 29.
  • If needed, an explanation of libraries' status as units of government can be found here:
  • School librarians have been eligible in Phase 1b as educational staff.

The Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) has requested the CDC to include libraries and archives in Phase 1b rather than 1c, at least in part in order to address confusion over eligibility of academic librarians who may be considered "education workers" (1b) or "libraries and archives" (1c). To date, the CDC has not adjusted its guidelines.

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