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CAL Statement on protecting library staff

April 27, 2020

In this time of uncertainty, reliable information and community support are among our most trusted and valuable resources, and the Colorado Association of Libraries' members, as do all librarians and library workers in the State, provide both of these services every day. The Colorado Association of Libraries (CAL) encourages and champions the numerous important contributions that library workers make to their communities in the form of trusted information resources, entertainment, companionship, early childhood education, job seeking, information literacy, skill building and more.

CAL recognizes that the dangers posed by the COVID-19 virus outweigh the benefits of operating public-facing libraries and information organizations for in-person services during this public health crisis. Accordingly, CAL supports decisions to close such facilities until public health and medical experts determine that it is safe to reopen them. At the same time, CAL encourages government, business, and academic leaders to take a long-term view and begin preparing for the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. A critical step in this process is retaining and fully compensating library workers regardless of their paid position in their organization. 

There is significant work that library workers can accomplish remotely, including digital and phone outreach and information literacy programs to help communities better connect and navigate their online services and environment.  Layoffs and furloughs undermine libraries’ important work in preparing communities to learn, connect, evaluate information and thrive during any and all extenuating circumstances.  CAL recognizes that many libraries and government institutions are facing difficult financial times that may necessitate the need to consider extreme actions such as layoffs and furloughs.  CAL asks that libraries consider the long and short-term impacts of such decision making and retain library staff as much as possible to meet the changing needs of our communities as we work through COVID-19 together.

Libraries are among the only institutions advocating and supplying services such as education, outreach, and internet access to marginalized populations--seniors, people with disabilities, lower and middle class workers, people experiencing homelessness, survivors of domestic violence, new immigrants, English language learners, and far more. The work of libraries may be more crucial than ever right now as they strive to offer ongoing virtual programming, information literacy instruction, free media access, personalized outreach, and technology support to their communities.  Because libraries are trusted and respected sources in their communities, they reliably and efficiently spread much needed health information and learning resources during these unprecedented times of social displacement. It is for these reasons that CAL strongly urges the retention of library staff who are actively connecting with their communities and providing reliable, trustworthy services and support to their communities and partners online.

Furthermore, CAL believes that library workers are especially vital in the aftermath of a catastrophe. Libraries have been and will continue to be the place where people go to complete their unemployment applications, apply to new jobs, or work on new resumes. Libraries are major outlets for official municipal information. We expect an increase in materials circulation because of information and educational needs and new hobbies developed in quarantine.

CAL calls on every employer in the State to support all library workers by recognizing their value, retaining them as employees regardless of position type as much as possible, and including them in post-pandemic plans. 


CAL Board

CAL Statement on COVID-19

The Colorado Association of Libraries commends the steps being taken around the state to prevent the additional spread of the COVID-19 virus.  

Libraries act as social hubs within our communities, bringing together large and diverse groups of people.  While we all share a commitment to our communities, we must balance that commitment with the safety of our patrons and staff.  While a number of libraries in our state have closed in order to protect their communities, many libraries remain open. The Colorado Association of Libraries recommends that all libraries in the state of Colorado suspend operations, including closing for a period of time.  This recommendation coincides with the CDC’s recommendation that all gatherings with 50 people or more be cancelled.

Additional information on COVID-19 may be found at the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Colorado’s COVID-19 website: https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/2019-novel-coronavirus

Ryan Buller
Colorado Association of Libraries President



2020 CAL Board

The 2020 CAL Board Roster can be located here.


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