Reopening Your Library? We Want to Help

It’s finally here.  Whether you have been dreading it, are excited, or a mixture of both, many libraries will now open their doors to customers who are ready to come back, and of course staff will be there to meet their needs. But there are still so many questions. We hope we can help you a bit with some ideas from CALL, and the REALM (REopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums) project.

Customer Service Post-Pandemic

We’ve heard from some of you that there could (of course) be anxiety around the idea of serving patrons face-to-face once again. What will those conversations look like? How can you keep patrons and staff safely socially distanced? And of course, how will you be as productive as you were when those questions about where the bathroom is located were not right in front of you? Go back to the basics of Crucial Customer Service Skills, but add your new expert knowledge by Preparing for the Next Wave of Pandemic-Fatigued Customers. Create healthy boundaries with your patrons, and practice your de-escalation skills whenever possible.


How long has that book been in quarantine? Should we be wiping every surface? If so, how often? What about air exchange. Take advantage of building safety tips from Sacramento Public Library in their building safety response to COVID-19. You may also want to review the Cleaning and Disinfecting Considerations from REALM and the OSHA COVID-19 Guidelines.

Managing Uncertainty

You would think we would all be used to it by now. The fact that we don’t know the answers to all of the questions is hard – but we are all in the same boat. The REALM Project provides assistance in their 5 Rules for Managing Uncertainty in a Pandemic. Using resources like the REALM Reopening Considerations can also help to alleviate uncertainty by providing a checklist to consider.

Take Care of Yourself – And Others

Finally, don’t forget that compassion fatigue is real and can have more impact that you might think. Take care of yourself, and those around you, by remembering to breathe, think and grow. Self-care is not just about you, but also about your ability to collaborate and interact with your colleagues and patrons. Take 90 minutes out of your day to listen and absorb what Karen Peabody shared around the state of California in her Self-Care and Collaboration Workshop. You won’t regret the time.

Additional Resources

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Reopening Your Library? We Want to Help