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COVID-19 Updates & Resources for Illinois Libraries

A Resource Guide

last updated: 1/21/2022 10:52 AM CT

As of February 2022, this page is no longer being updated.
Illinois Heartland Library System does not offer legal or medical advice. The information provided here is for informational purposes only. Libraries should contact their attorneys regarding any legal requirements and their local or state health departments for medical guidance.

The resources on this page were curated for the Libraries of Central & Southern Illinois.

Acronyms used:

CDC     Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
IDPH    Illinois Department of Public Health
WHO    World Health Organization
FDA     Food and Drug Administration
OSHA  Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Find Answers to Frequently Asked COVID Questions

What are IHLS Libraries Doing Now? Shared Spreadsheet

Metrics, News Updates
Building Ventilation

American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

REALM Project: REopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums

Find a Vaccine Opportunity

Find other vaccine opportunities by visiting or calling 1-833-621-1284.

Variants, Coronavirus, and COVID-19

Omicron Variant

Delta Variant

Coronavirus and COVID-19

Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

REALM Project: REopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA)

Library Operations

State Library Awards IHLS $125K for E-Resource Purchases for Members (11/23/20, IHLS) - The Illinois Secretary of State (IL SOS)/Illinois State Library (ISL) awarded IHLS $125,000 for the purchase of e-resources for members. The grant funds will allow IHLS to purchase ebooks and e-audiobooks for users of the SHARE cloudLibrary, one of the largest and most heavily utilized digital collections in the state. Users of Axis 360, another large, system-managed digital library, will also see more resources.

New ISL Grants Announced--Apply Now! - A series of grants available to Illinois system-member libraries for books, PPE, and digital network access--two of which are available due to CARES Act Funding

IHLS Grants page - A collection of time-limited and ongoing grand opportunities by the Illinois State Library, American Library Association, and more

Network of the National Library of Medicine Funding Opportunities - A collection of funding opportunities by the NNLM and other organizations

$15 Million in IMLS CARES Act Grants Now Available for Museum and Library Services (5/8/20, IMLS) - Applications for Pandemic Response Funding Due June 12, 2020

IMLS Announces New Stimulus Funding for Communities Across America (4/13/20, IMLS) - $30 Million Infusion to Provide Emergency Relief Through State Libraries

Federal Government Invests $50M in Museums, Libraries to Address Digital Divide During COVID-19 (3/27/20) - CARES Act Designates Funds to Expand Local Internet and Technology Access

FEMA Public Assistance: Local, State, Tribal and Private Non-Profit - "The purpose of the Public Assistance (PA) Grant Program is to support communities’ recovery from major disasters by providing them with grant assistance for debris removal, life-saving emergency protective measures, and restoring public infrastructure. Local governments, states, tribes, territories and certain private nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply."

Information from IEMA regarding Public Assistance (PA) opportunities relating to COVID-19 - (3/31/20) Received by the Illinois Library Association via the Illinois State Library on 3/31/2020

ILA Legal, Financial, and Library Board Governance Resources - "President Trump declared the FEMA-4489-DR-IL major disaster declaration for Illinois on March 26, 2020, as a result of COVID-19 pandemic response that started January 20, 2020 and is continuing. FEMA has designated all counties in Illinois as eligible for funding under Public Assistance (PA) Program, Category B – Emergency Protective Measures. If an eligible organization has or may have at least $3,300 in eligible extraordinary uninsured Category B – Emergency Protective Measure costs, the organization should submit a FEMA Request for Public Assistance (RPA) form to IEMA."

Guidance on Materials Handling, Social Distancing, & Curbside

REALM Project: REopening Archives, Libraries & Museums: A COVID-19 Research Project - "OCLC, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and Battelle are working to create and distribute science-based information and best-recommended practices designed to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 to staff and visitors who are engaging in the delivery or use of museum, library, and archival services. This research collaboration will provide information on how long the virus survives on surfaces and how—or if—materials can be handled to mitigate exposure."

Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) - Official, evolving guidance by the CDC, including preparing workplaces for an outbreak, reducing transmission among employees, maintaining healthy business operations, maintaining a healthy work environment, and a summary of recent changes to the CDC's guidelines

Curbside Delivery and Reopening Considerations (RAILS) - A guide that includes questions that need to be considered and answered by libraries considering and planning curbside services during the pandemic

IDEA FILE: Phased Reopenings and Virtual Services (IHLS) - An open idea file by IHLS and contributors. See what others are thinking about doing and add your own ideas to the list.

Colorado Library Consortium: Returning to Service – Libraries and COVID-19

MOBIUS's COVID-19 Library Reopening & Resource Sharing/Courier Safety Concerns - A summary of best practices conversations by MOBIUS and other consortia.

CDC's Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools, and Homes - "This guidance is intended for all Americans, whether you own a business, run a school, or want to ensure the cleanliness and safety of your home.IMLS, CDC Offer Guidance for Disinfecting Returned Library Books - (4/9/2020) article by School Library Journal

How to Sanitize Collections in a Pandemic - (3/27/2020) "Conservators weigh in on the mysteries of materials handling during COVID-19" in this article by American Libraries Magazine

COVID-19 Basics: Disinfecting Cultural Resources - A video by the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training (NCPTT) sharing the basics of cleaning and handling cultural resource materials

Disinfecting Books and Other Collections - Evolving guidance from the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NDCC) as to disinfecting books, "based on the current research available from the medical and scientific communities regarding COVID-19"

Recommendations for Library Services During The Covid-19 Pandemic (April 2020, Regents Public Library Advisory Council) - Guidance about reopening that includes a template Pandemic Service and Staffing Plan

Missouri Libraries Reopening Guidelines (April 2020, Missouri State Library)

Getting ahead of the next stage of the coronavirus crisis (April 2020, McKinsey & Company)

Operation Plans

What Are IHLS Libraries Doing Now?

What are IHLS Libraries Doing Now? Shared Spreadsheet

Most recent timeframe surveyed: Dec. 3-10, 2020. Historical data included on subsequent tabs within the document.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Cleaning

Sourcing PPE

Team One PPE Order Page for IHLS, RAILS, and ILA Members - As a federal government contractor, Team One can provide Personal Protection Equipment such as masks, gloves, and clear acrylic shields. They have created a dedicated webpage for IHLS, RAILS, and ILA members ordering PPE products. Stock levels are impacted by demand, and out-of-stocks are indicated on the Team One webpage. Team One will fulfill orders on a FIFO basis. For further info and questions contact the sales and customer service team at

PPE Use for Library Staff Webinar

Reopening Plans

Public Library Reopening/Operation Plans

IDEA FILE: Idease for Phased Reopenings and Virtual Services

Illinois Library Reopening/Pandemic Plans

The following reopening/pandemic operation plans were provided by libraries to be shared with other libraries:

Legal & Employment Issues

Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) webinar by the Wage & Hour Division of the U.S. Dept. of Labor —— (date unknown; 5/14/20 or earlier)

Workplace Health and Safety Guidance for Employees and Staff of Businesses —— (4/30/20) Notification from the Illinois Attorney General's Office to employees on what employers should be doing to protect their employees, including social distancing, personal protective equipment, what to do if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or a coworker has the disease, and how to handle employers who are not adequately protecting employees through this guidance. This is a required posting for employers.

Summary of the Core Points of the U.S. Department of Labor's Guidance on Paid Leave Under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act & the Emergency Family & Medical Leave Expansion Act —— (3/25/20) Attorney guidance drafted for the Illinois Library Association

U.S. Department of Labor Employee Rights Poster —— (3/2020) This updated poster reflects the changes to the Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave Act under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This is a required posting for employers, to be posted before April 1, 2020.

Open Meetings Act

Senate Bill 2135 and Required Steps for Virtual Meetings——(6/3/2020) This bill amends the Open Meetings Act and addresses remote participation in meetings of public bodies while under disaster proclamations.These procedures should be adopted immediately. Attorney Phil Lenzini has outlined the required steps for virtual meetings in this article.

Illinois Executive Order 2020-7 / COVID-19 Executive Order No. 5——(3/16/2020) Among other items, this order suspends the provisions of the Illinois Open Meetings Act (OMA) relating to in-person attendance by trustees and members of the public at board meetings and allows remote (audio or video) meetings to be streamed to the public.

Have additional questions about OMA compliance? Contact the Public Access Officer for the Illinois Attorney General's Office.

Proclamations & Orders

Illinois COVID-19 Proclamations & Orders

Illinois Disaster Proclamations: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response —— View all of the State of Illinois disaster proclamations regarding the pandemic; most proclamations are available in English, Arabic, Polish, Chinese, Spanish, Hindi, and Tagalog

Federal Acts and Guidelines

Guidelines for Opening Up America Again —— President Trump has unveiled Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, a three-phased approach based on the advice of public health experts. These steps will help state and local officials when reopening their economies, getting people back to work, and continuing to protect American lives.

H.R.6201 - Families First Coronavirus Response Act —— (3/18/2020) ;Public Law No: 116-127 —— "This bill responds to the COVID-19 (i.e., coronavirus disease 2019) outbreak by providing paid sick leave, tax credits, and free COVID-19 testing; expanding food assistance and unemployment benefits; and increasing Medicaid funding."

Family First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) webinar by the& Wage & Hour Division of the U.S. Dept. of Labor

American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021

Economic Impact Payment Information Center

CARES Act (Coronavirus Air, Relief, and Economic Security Act)

Families First Coronavirus Response Act COVID-19

Communication Tools
Individual Templates

U.S. Chamber of Commerce COVID-19 "Your Health is Our #1 Priority. Here are the actions we are taking" customizable flyer

IHLS Resources for Illinois (and All) Libraries


FROM AN IPHONE/IPAD: Tap-hold image >> tap Save Image 
FROM AN ANDROID DEVICE: Tap-hold image >> tap Download Image
FROM A MAC PC:  Control-click image >> tap Save Image As WINDOWS PC: Right-click image >> tap Save Image As...

12 Ready-to-Print & Ready-to-Color Designs for Social Distancing Scavenger Hunts.

12 Ready-to-Print & Ready-to-Color Designs for Social Distancing Scavenger Hunts. Images of two hearts that say "We got this!", two teddy bears, and two hearts that say, "Smile." Of each pair, one is black and white like a coloring page and the other is full-color. Brought to you by IHLS Illinois Heartland Library System and Your Library.

Want to promote #SocialDistancing AND physical activity this weekend? Join the Heart Hunters and Bear Hunters movement with these 12 Ready-to-Print and Ready-to-Color Designs from @Illinois Heartland Library System and YOUR LIBRARY
Alternatively, put the links on your library's site and use your own link!

FROM AN IPHONE/IPAD: Tap-hold to highlight part of the text, then drag selection markers to highlight text >> click Copy icon& OR Tap-hold to highlight part of the text, then drag selection markers to highlight text >> click Copy from menu FROM AN ANDROID DEVICE: Tap-hold to highlight part of the text, then drag selection markers to highlight text >> tap Copy MAC PC: Click-drag cursor to highlight desired text >> Right-click highlighted text >> COMMAND+C WINDOWS PC: Click-drag cursor to highlight desired text >> Right-click highlighted text >> Copy OR Click-drag cursor to highlight desired text >> Right-click highlighted text >> CTRL+C

Woman with forlorn expression covered in books.

Woman with forlorn expression covered in books. Can't place interlibrary loan holds or pick up library materials? Don't despair. Check out your library's digital branch! Logo 1: SHARE: Sharing Heartland's Available Resources Equally. Logo 2: IHLS: Illinois Heartland Library System. Together providing resource sharing, interlibrary delivery, and other services for the libraries of central and southern Illinois.

Looking for e-books or e-audiobooks? If you have a [library name] library card, you can instantly access hundreds of titles through [Hoopla, cloudLibrary, Libby, rbDigital, Kanopy, TumbleBooks, etc.]. Learn more by visiting the [library] virtual branch at [link]

You may not be able to place holds on items from other libraries - nope, they don't save - but you CAN place holds on items at your library, which will be processed whenever libraries reopen and @Illinois Heartland Library System delivery services resume. Meanwhile, check your library's website to see all of the e-books, e-audios, and movies that may be available at your library!

...then paste the text into your social media post.


Patron Resources
Agencies & Departments

Illinois Department of Human Services - find help regarding food, shelter, help at home, medical, recovery, and emotional/mental health

E-Resources & Virtual Programming

Illinois Heartland Library System & Members

Contributable Database: Virtual & At-Home Resources for PatronsContributable Idea File: Ideas: Phased Reopenings & Virtual Services

Amazing Educational Resources - Database of education companies offering free subscriptions due to school closings

5 Remote Services Libraries Can Provide - Another library (source unknown, unfortunately!) created a list of remote services your library can provide. 

Resources for Patrons - Looking to expand e-resources? View our searchable and filterable database of Resources for Patrons. Many of the resources are discounted or free while schools are not in session and workers are at home due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

SLJ COVID-19 Publisher Information Directory - Virtual read alouds: what's legal under copyright? This directory is a compilation of children's publishers that have temporarily altered policies.

Mental Health

Call 4 Calm - Call 4 Calm is a free emotional-support text line where you can speak with a mental health professional. Text “TALK” (English) or "HABLAR" (Spanish) to 552020.

Domestic Violence Helpline - 1-877-863-6338

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1-800-273-8255

Illinois Suicide Prevention Hotlines - Suicide prevention hotlines by Illinois county

Temporary Discounted or Free Internet Access

Comcast and Xfinity Internet - 60 days free "Internet Essentials" service for new customers

Xfinity Wi-Fi Hotspot Access - Free Wi-Fi hotspot access for all at all existing business hotspot locations; find one using their interactive map

Charter Spectrum Internet - 60 days free Internet access for new K-12 and college student households

ARTICLE: American Library Association recommends libraries leave WiFi open during closures

Library Staff Continuing Education
Continuing Education Resources
Contributable Database: Continuing Education for Library Staff

developed by IHLS and contributors

An additional database, IHLS's COVID-19 Webinars database, is still accessible but is no longer supported

Organizations' COVID-19 Response Pages