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Pandemic Resources for Academic Libraries: Self-Care and New Ways of Working

Updated information, professional development, and resources to support academic and research library personnel during a pandemic.

We Are Here For You - A Message from the ACRL Board of Directors

These are unprecedented times in academic and research libraries.  The COVID-19 pandemic has had an overwhelming effect on our workplaces and our lives, upending daily life and causing widespread fear and uncertainty.  We are all affected by this crisis, both personally and professionally and we hope that this finds you healthy and successfully coping with the many challenges.

The ACRL Board of Directors recognizes the stress, challenge, and difficulty of this situation.  At the same time, both as Board members and within our own institutions, we are heartened by the creative and resourceful responses of ACRL members and of the library community overall.  Even in this most trying time, we see library workers reaching out to support each other, sharing information, enacting equity and fairness, and finding new ways to collaborate for the common good.  

ACRL’s mission is to support all of its members, in good times and bad.  As ACRL Board members and librarians, we understand that the current situation is daunting.  We look forward to working with you and the ACRL staff to find ways to overcome it together.  And we offer our best wishes and thoughts to you and yours as we confront this unprecedented health crisis.

Read more on ACRL Insider.

Managing Remote Work

Managing Remote Workers
Webcast recording from Tuesday, April 7

Join Martin House, Assistant Director for Public Services at Central Piedmont Community College and incoming chair of ACRL’s Community and Junior College Libraries Section, and Cinthya Ippoliti, University Librarian and Director of the Auraria Library at University of Colorado Denver and Director-at-Large on ACRL’s Board of Directors, for tips, strategies, and discussion on effective ways to manage a suddenly remote library workforce.  

Other Duties as Assigned: More Ways to Help during the Pandemic

ACRL Insider: Librarianship in the Time of Coronavirus

Illustration of books and a computer on a desk with a clock on a wall.

Librarians and library workers are first and foremost people and, for all of us, a pandemic makes for challenging times. But we are in this together. At ACRL we want to foster community and care through technology and across distances.  

To help the academic library community cope and learn from each other in challenging and rapidly changing circumstances, over the coming days and weeks we’ll post occasional discussion questions to our social media accounts using the hashtag #COVIDlibrary. We encourage you all to share your stories and learning experiences in response.

Share your stories on Facebook or Twitter. We’ll post more questions for discussion – as well as responses and resources from ACRL staff – over the coming days.


  • April 9, 2020: Last question of the #COVIDlibraryseries: How can we work together to build a better future? What does the post-coronavirus academic library look like? Think bigand share your ideas!
  • April 7, 2020: How do you preserve time for yourself during the pandemic, amidst the demands of work and family life? What does that look like for you? 
    - Working from home, David Free says "I try to take set a definitive end to the work day and take 15 minutes of quiet time to myself to myself, maybe exercising a little or meditating, to transition to the rest of life."
    - Sara Goek has been doing lots of reading. Latest recommendations in fiction are Apeirogon by Colum McCann and Disoriental by Négar Djavadi, and in non-fiction A World on Edge by Daniel Schönpflug.
  • April 3, 2020: How is your library working to support students – undergrads, grad students, LIS students – who are adapting to online learning? Share your favorite #CovidCampus or #COVIDlibrary resource?
    - For LIS students, be sure to check out the dedicated resources on the ACRL website:
  • March 30, 2020: This week’s #COVIDlibrary questions focus on working during the pandemic. First up: What new challenges are you facing in your work? What strategies have you found most effective in dealing with them?
    - At ACRL, we strive to support the academic library community during these challenging times. Check out our Pandemic Resources for Academic Libraries LibGuide and free webinar series
    Our friends @archivists_org have also put together a handy document with ideas and resources:
  • March 27, 2020: Today we celebrate the #COVIDlibrary community: How are you staying connected with colleagues, family, friends, and neighbors... while staying at least 6 feet apart?
    - Chase Ollis has been hosting virtual happy hours with his friends: “Grab your favorite beverage of choice, connect with FaceTime or Google Hangouts or another video conferencing software, and catch up in the comfort of your pajamas."
    - Gena Parsons-Diamond says, "My friends and I have been playing party games over video chat. A particular favorite of ours is Jackbox Games, because everyone can play on their phone!"
    - David Connolly: "This was one way we thought we might be able to help neighbors in our building who might need it and who would otherwise not know that willing help was available nearby.”

    - Tory Ondrla: “We grouped up with a few other families, stood 6 feet apart with Happy Birthday signs and sung Happy Birthday to You to my son's best friend who turned 10 last week.”
  • March 25, 2020: Are you doing anything to capture the historical moment? This could be something related to you personally, your community, or your work.
    - Tip from #twitterstorians: Keep a journal. This can be a great activity for students or your own children. You could also work with archives or special collections to capture these documents. Check out what the Indiana University Bloomington Libraries are doing:
  • March 23, 2020: What are you reading that provides context, support, or reassurance during our current crisis?
    - ACRL program manager Sara Goek recommends the “Epidemic Proportions” exhibit @bunkhistory, which collects and connects writing from around the web about how Americans have experienced past epidemics
    - For non-pandemic escape, C&RL News Editor-in-Chief David Free is reading Burning Down the Haus: Punk Rock, Revolution, and the Fall of the Berlin Wall 
  • March 20, 2020: In times of crisis, community is more important than ever. What are you doing to cope right now? Share something that has helped you deal with changes related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    - ACRL staff are also adjusting to a very different work environment. Meet some of our furry assistants for a little cheer and virtual pet therapy!



Combating Xenophobia

Upcoming Webinar: Confronting Xenophobia and Supporting Asian and Asian/Pacific American Communities during COVID-19
May 1, 2020, 12:00pm CT

In light of the outbreak of COVID-19 (also known as coronavirus), cases of racism and xenophobia against Asians and Asian/Pacific Americans have surged across the world. In the United States, there has always been a deep history of xenophobia towards Asians. This webinar will feature two experts to discuss the issue of Anti-Asian sentiment, and will also focus on teaching resources in countering xenophobia. This is a free webinar co-sponsored by the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) and the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services (ODLOS).

Please note: due to platform capacity, only the first 100 attendees to log in will be able to attend live. After the webinar, all registrants will receive a link to the recording.

American Libraries Live webcasts

American Libraries Live

American Libraries Live webcasts cover the full spectrum of library topics and give the ALA community a chance to learn about and discuss issues it deals with daily. Each program lasts 60 minutes.

Recordings from webcasts covering COVID-19 are below. Slides and a list of upcoming webcasts are also available from the AL Live website.

 Webcast Recordings

WHO: Q&A on COVID-19 and Mental Health

Recorded version of the live Q&A on mental health during COVID-19, with Aiysha Malik, Mental Health expert at WHO speaking with Sari Setiogi, Head of WHO's Social Media and Media Monitoring. The live show was broadcast on 10 March 2020.

Helpful Tips and Outside Reading