3/13/20 IHLS COVID-19 UPDATE: What we're doing, what your library can do, and where to find reliable information

Published 3/13/2020

COVID-19 Update

Member Libraries,

As you are no doubt well aware, COVID-19 is spreading swiftly throughout the United States, affecting events and businesses from the NBA to libraries. We are writing now to make sure that our member libraries have accurate information about COVID-19, to let you know that Illinois Heartland Library System is closely monitoring the situation, and to share what we’re doing. 

Finding Reliable Information on COVID-19

You can find the latest updates regarding the COVID-19 pandemic from these reliable sources:

Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) 
Within the state, IDPH and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) are a reliable first stop for information. IDPH has set up a hotline for questions: 800-889-3931.

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) 
Nationally, the CDC is charged with monitoring the outbreak and routinely issues bulletins with updated information regarding COVID-19. 

Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration (OSHA)
OSHA provides guidelines for the prevention and control of the virus in a variety of workplace situations. This is especially useful regarding workplace cleaning measures.

ALA Statement on COVID-19

Actions and Recommendations by Illinois Heartland Library System and the SHARE Consortium

IHLS and SHARE are both closely monitoring the situation state-wide and nation-wide, including recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and steps being considered and taken by libraries across the state and the nation. Please be assured that we will be working together to adapt our procedures and recommendations as the situation continues to evolve. Please pay close attention to our website and your email for additional communications in the coming weeks.

IHLS COVID-19 Webpage 

IHLS now has a link on our homepage to our COVID-19 page. This page will include news from IHLS and the Illinois State Library, reliable sources of information regarding COVID-19, examples of what libraries are doing and could do regarding the virus, and other resources as appropriate.

New Directors' Chat Focusing on COVID-19

By member request, IHLS will be hosting a second Directors' Chat this March, to be held next Wednesday, March 18, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Please register in L2 for this online chat.

Reporting Library Closings

If your library has determined that you need to close, please remember to notify IHLS Delivery and SHARE. Please complete both the No Delivery Request Form to let IHLS Delivery know you won’t be open for ILL deliveries and the Closing Dates Form to update your settings in Polaris.

For upcoming training and networking events, we are watching the situation closely and will notify registered participants of any changes. 

IHLS Delivery Sanitation Procedures

Delivery staff is implementing some measures to do our part. Gloves are available for the sorters, and we have begun to wipe “hot spot” areas on the tubs. However, we are not wiping every item; the sheer volume of items processed does not make this possible. We will also follow any directives from the Illinois Department of Health. 

Sick Leave Procedures for IHLS Staff

To help prevent the spread of disease, IHLS will direct staff, including drivers, with suspected cold and flu symptoms to go home. To encourage compliance, all staff are eligible for sick leave during this period—this includes part-time staff. Additionally, employees who are able to work from home are encouraged to do so as needed.

Upcoming IHLS and SHARE Events

The Board Networking Event scheduled for Tuesday, March 24, from 4 to 5 p.m. at the Illinois State Library has been canceled. The 5 p.m. IHLS Board Meeting will be held as planned.

Other scheduled IHLS and SHARE events will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. For upcoming trainings and events, we are watching the situation closely and will notify registered participants of any changes. 

SHARE Recommendation for Waiving Fines

SHARE recommends that libraries waive the overdue fines if a book comes back late because of a quarantine situation. However, the decision to implement this recommendation is done at the discretion of the home library.

SHARE Extended Renewal Options

Many libraries have given permission to extend due dates or add additional renewals during this time. For a list, please see the SHARE website. If you would like to add your library to either list, please contact Cassandra Thompson.