CAL REQUESTS LIBRARY WORKERS BE INCLUDED IN 1B.2 COVID VACCINE


PO Box 740905, Arvada, CO 80006-0905.    Phone: 303.463.6400 Email: [email protected]

PRESS RELEASE
February 15, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Ryan Buller
COMPANY: Colorado Association of Libraries
EMAIL: 
[email protected]
WEB: cal-webs.org

Colorado Association of Libraries Requests Library Workers Be Included in 1B.2 COVID Vaccine

Due to the ongoing confusion around vaccine distribution priorities, the Colorado Association of Libraries is releasing the below request for Governor Polis and CDPHE to include Colorado library workers as critical service providers in the vaccine rollout program under 1B.2.

February 12, 2021

Dear Governor Polis and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment,

In our role as leaders and advocates for all Colorado libraries, the Colorado Association of Libraries (CAL) writes to you today asking for prioritization of all library workers as critical service providers in the vaccine rollout program.

The State of Colorado has deemed libraries to be a critical service but has not explicitly added library workers to the vaccination schedule alongside other frontline workers such as K-12 educators, which includes school library staff, and human services workers. The majority of library buildings around the state are open and serving community members due to the demand from their communities for essential library services. Library staff are on the front lines during this pandemic, interacting with hundreds to thousands of people per week. Our local public and academic libraries are connecting people to factual information on COVID-19 and the efficacy of masks and information about the vaccination rollout; providing access to computers and the internet to help people find jobs, complete unemployment applications, or apply for government assistance; providing resources to complete homework assignments; offering mobile hotspots to enable people to work or attend school from home; and providing free access to books, movies, and other materials that bring hope and joy to people during these stressful times.

Community members turn to public and academic libraries as sources of trusted information in times of crisis, and the COVID-19 pandemic is no exception. Library staff frequently help patrons find information about receiving COVID vaccines, locating COVID testing sites, and accessing COVID test results. This means that people who suspect they might be COVID positive enter public library buildings and interact with staff members because it is the only place they trust to access critical information, and when helping someone navigate the internet, it is not always possible to maintain 6’ of space. Due to working so closely with library patrons, library employees should be considered a high-risk group.

As counties refer to the state directives for guidance, adding public and academic library workers to phase 1B.2 of Colorado’s COVID-19 vaccination effort will minimize unnecessary risk to library workers who have been dedicated to continued public service throughout the pandemic. It will allow library workers to open more library buildings and expand their services to reach communities in need. The Colorado Association of Libraries asks the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to add library workers to the list of Coloradans who are eligible to receive the vaccine during phase 1B.2.

Thank you for your consideration. The CAL Board is available for further discussion, if needed. Please contact us at [email protected]

Board of Directors, Colorado Association of Libraries

cc: Department of Education and Colorado Department of Higher Education