Tag Archives: covid-19

ALA announces $1.55M second round of emergency fund for libraries impacted by COVID-19

For more grants like this one, check out the NLC’s Grant Opportunities for Nebraska Libraries.

CHICAGO — The American Library Association (ALA) announced it will make available  $1.55M in emergency relief grants to more than 75 libraries that have experienced substantial economic hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic. The ALA COVID Library Relief Fund invites public, school, academic, tribal, and correctional libraries across the United States and US Territories to apply for grants of $20,000.

These funds are intended to bolster library operations and services including broadening technology access, developing collections, providing digital instruction, staffing, and expanding outreach, as well as maintaining and amplifying existing service strategies or adding new ones to extend impact through the end of 2022.

Grant applications are accepted online through April 21, 2022 via the ALA website.

The ALA COVID Library Relief Fund continues to represent some of the most significant grant opportunities available to libraries outside of federal funding. Funds will support libraries’ ability to provide their users with the information services and digital access they need to retain or secure socio-economic mobility during a time of shift and upheaval. Libraries serving low income and rural communities, or communities that are predominately Black, Latino, Asian, Indigenous, and People of Color, are especially encouraged to apply.

In 2021 $1.25 million was granted to 34 libraries. More than 300 libraries applied for grants in 2021.

“This new round of grants will help to support libraries at a time when they are displaying extraordinary ingenuity and determination in creating new materials, programs, and service delivery models – and all too often doing so with limited budgets,” said ALA Executive Director Tracie D. Hall. “Over the last two years of the pandemic, we have worked hard as an association to raise the visibility of the vital and unduplicated work of libraries and library workers, especially in communities where the need is greatest.”

The ALA COVID Library Relief Fund is generously supported by Acton Family Giving as part of its pandemic responsive grantmaking.

“Libraries have faced daunting challenges throughout the pandemic,” said ALA President Patricia “Patty” Wong. “In a time when communities depend on their services, many libraries have suffered the impact of cuts that have significantly impair their ability to provide resources at this critical moment of recovery. We are so grateful to Acton Family Giving for their tremendous support, which will enable our treasured institutions to emerge more robust than ever.”

The application deadline is April 21, 2021, with awards announced on June 1, 2022.  Additional information and award guidelines are available on the grant application site.

ALA’s Chapter Relations Office administers the ALA COVID Library Emergency Relief Fund. Additional information regarding Chapter Relations is available on our website. Contact: Michael Dowling, Director, Chapter Relations Office/International Relations Office, American Library Association, mdowling@ala.org

About the American Library Association
The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more

About Acton Family Giving
Acton Family Giving supports distinct initiatives and collective efforts. Its Empathy Building Initiative, launched in 2014, partners with organizations building connections across difference and reaffirming our common humanity. This work is rooted in the belief that an empathetic society fosters stronger, healthier, and more just communities. Acton Family Giving is part of the Wildcard Giving philanthropic family.

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Pandemic Resources for Libraries

The COVID-19 pandemic has waxed and waned, but it is not over. Fortunately, we know much more now than we did in early 2020 – no more sanitizing groceries! On the other hand, this ever-increasing glut of information (and misinformation) can be hard to navigate. We have rounded up some resources on identifying accurate information and other topics related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/libman/navigating_pandemic_information.aspx. As Mr. Rogers said, “look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping”. There is no better place to turn for information literacy help than your local public library!

We’ve also been keeping track of the latest guidance and resources for libraries, businesses, and families. You can find more on our pandemic resource page: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/libman/pandemic.aspx.
We are always updating our pages, so if you notice that we are missing a crucial resource, please reach out to us.

Photo by Anton on Unsplash

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Nebraska Library Commission Awards CARES Act Grants to Advance Digital Equity

NLC Logo

August 11, 2020

Christa Porter

Nebraska Library Commission Awards CARES Act Grants to Advance Digital Equity

Today the Nebraska Library Commission announced the recipients of $175,105 in COVID-19 response grants to 64 libraries across the state and the Central Plains Library System. Provided by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the grants will be used by local libraries to address digital inclusion and related technical support in the context of workforce development and broadband availability, including: 

  • COVID-19 PPE Response Supplies – Disinfectant sprays and wipes; masks; gloves; sneeze guards for desks and counters; hand sanitizer stations; touchless soap/paper towel dispensers; keyboard covers.
  • Virtual Summer Reading Programs – statewide, year-long subscription to Reader Zone; virtual programming; craft bag supplies.
  • Wireless hotspots, laptops, and tablets to lend to patrons
  • Wi-Fi extenders to expand broadband access beyond the library facility
  • Digital Content: Fee to join the Nebraska OverDrive Group; additional purchases of other ebooks and audiobooks.

“Nebraska libraries have been resourceful and responsive during the COVID-19 pandemic. Acting within public health safety guidance and restrictions, libraries have sought to extend services outside of library walls.” said Nebraska Library Commission Director Rod Wagner. “Library grant funding provided through the CARES Act support libraries in acquiring needed supplies, paying for technology upgrades, purchasing digital content, and more.”

Grant recipients include:

Central Plains Library System
Albion Public Library
Arapahoe Public Library
Arcadia Township Library
Axtell Public Library
Bayard Public Library
Beaver City Public Library
Bellevue Public Library
Bennington Public Library
Broken Bow Public Library
Butler Memorial Library
Central City Public Library
Chadron Public Library
Columbus Public Library
Crawford Public Library
Dakota City Public Library
David City, Hruska Memorial Public Library
Dodge, John Rogers Memorial Library
Elmwood Public Library
Fairmont Public Library
Falls City Library & Arts Center
Franklin Public Library
Fremont, Keene Memorial Library
Friend, Gilbert Public Library
Gering Public Library
Grand Island Public Library
Grant, Hastings Memorial Library
Harrison, Sioux County Public Library
Hartington Public Library
Hemingford Public Library
Kimball Public Library
La Vista Public Library
Leigh Public Library
Louisville Public Library
Lyons Public Library
Madison Public Library
Neligh Public Library
Norfolk Public Library
North Bend Public Library
Oakland Public Library
Omaha Public Library
Ord Township Library
Oshkosh Public Library
Pender, House Memorial Library
Lied Pierce Public Library
Plymouth Public Library
Ponca Carnegie Library
Ralston, Baright Public Library
Lied Randolph Public Library
Ravenna Public Library
Sargent Township Library
Schuyler Public Library
Lied Scottsbluff Public Library
Shelby Community Library
Sutton Memorial Library
Taylor Public Library
Valentine Public Library
Verdigre Public Library
Walthill Public Library
Waterloo, Agnes Robinson Waterloo Public Library
Wausa, Lied Lincoln Township Library
Wayne Public Library
Western, Struckman-Baatz Public Library
Lied Winside Public Library
Wood River, Maltman Memorial Library

The Nebraska Library Commission received the funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to support the role of museums and libraries in responding to the coronavirus pandemic. In March, Congress provided the federal agency a total of $50 million in the CARES Act to distribute to states and territories.

IMLS Director Crosby Kemper III said, “COVID-19 has not only created a public health emergency, but it has also created a deep need for trusted community information, education, and connection that our libraries and museums are designed to provide. Access to and use of all kinds of health, job, government, educational, and community resources are necessary to weathering the current situation, beginning efforts to reopen, and sustaining our institutions.”

As the state library agency, the Nebraska Library Commission is an advocate for the library and information needs of all Nebraskans. The mission of the Library Commission is statewide promotion, development, and coordination of library and information services, “bringing together people and information.”


The most up-to-date news releases from the Nebraska Library Commission are always available on the Library Commission Website, http://nlc.nebraska.gov/publications/newsreleases.

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#BookFaceFriday – “The Silence of the Library” by Miranda James

Hey, all you cats and kittens out there! Is your formerly silent library thinking about opening it’s doors again? The Nebraska Library Commission has resources available to make the process as purrfect as possible. Check out our Pandemic Resources page for recommendations and guidance from local and national organizations, as well as examples of policies and procedures being used by other Nebraska libraries.

If you’ve not yet told us that your library is reopening or modifying services for the pandemic, please fill out our Nebraska Library Services Form. The information you submit helps us keep our Nebraska Libraries Spreadsheet on closings, reopenings, and modifying services up to date in these rapidly changing times.

Keep an eye out next week for information on applying for CARES Act funding.

“The Silence of the Library” by Miranda James (Berkley, 2014) is a part of the Cat in the Stacks mystery series.

“Combines a kindhearted librarian hero, family secrets in a sleepy Southern town, and a gentle giant of a cat that will steal your heart.”—Lorna Barrett, New York Times bestselling author of the Booktown Mysteries

Our models this week are our tireless Computer Services Director, Vern Buis, and his lovely cat Bernie. A former stray, Bernie decided to move into Vern’s place about a year ago, and that was that. Now he’s living the good life and modeling for bookface photos on the side.

Love this BookFace & reading? Check out our past #BookFaceFriday photos on the Nebraska Library Commission’s Facebook page!

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Reopening Your Library During the Pandemic

Is your library reopening to the public, or looking for guidance on reopening?

We’ve compiled recommendations and guidance from local and national organization, as well as example of policies and procedures being used by other Nebraska libraries here: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/libman/pandemic4libraries.aspx

If you’ve not yet told us that your library is reopening or modifying services for the pandemic, please fill out our form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe5AurxbSHsu5gy5sig7uHWkkQYeRG3EfT7l2ArfmbPTtlx-A/viewform.

A spreadsheet of Nebraska libraries closing, reopening, and modifying services can be found here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/e/2PACX-1vQhzPpcpf_BAB_7wbDegLdjvfFX84AbGgRVAcIzrp-DYBIJUnKIaake5d1jKIRcFVW4qTPVwchtK5SV/pubhtml

And don’t forget our other resources for libraries and their patrons during this time: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/libman/pandemic.aspx
The Central Plains Libray System (CPLS) has resources too!

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A Phased Library Reopening Plan

Many Nebraska libraries have closed their buildings to the public during the COVID-19 pandemic; some stopped all physical services completely, and others developed alternative services. The Nebraska Library Commission has put together some guidance of how libraries can begin to reopen their buildings and restore services.

Phased Plan for Reopening Nebraska Libraries

This plan will provide a phased outline of how full services could be restored as the health crisis eases and social distancing measures end. It can be used as a starting point for library directors and their boards to determine the specific course of action their library will take to serve their community during and after the pandemic.

Disclaimer: This document is intended as guidance only. The Nebraska Library Commission does not have the authority to mandate that libraries close or open in any capacity. Library directors should work with their library boards, local government, and local health departments to determine their course of action. Libraries may modify this plan to suit their needs.

We will continue to update this plan as new information is available. See all of our COVID-19 resources for libraries and Nebraskans here: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/libman/pandemic.aspx

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Webinar with the CDC: Mitigating COVID-19 for Museums, Libraries, Archives

UPDATE: The recording of this webinar is now available at Mitigating COVID-19 When Managing Paper-Based, Circulating, and Other Types of Collections.

You will also find more information on pandemic preparedness on our COVID-19 and Pandemic Resources for Libraries page.

Mitigating COVID-19 When Managing Paper-Based, Circulating, and Other Types of Collections

Join us for a webinar on Monday, March 30, 2020, from 12:00 to 1:00 PM CT.

Please join Dr. David Berendes and Dr. Catherine Rasberry from the Centers for Disease Control for an overview of the CDC’s guidance for community settings and environmental disinfection, and a discussion of how libraries, archives, and museums can help mitigate COVID-19 when working with paper-based, circulating, and other types of collections. The presentation will be followed by a question and answer period.


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. This webinar will be recorded. View System Requirements

Presented in coordination with:

  • U.S. Department of Education
  • Institute of Museum and Library Services
  • National Archives and Records Administration
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Library of Congress


David Berendes, Ph.D., M.S.P.H.
Dr. David Berendes is an epidemiologist in the Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch at the Center for Disease Control, focusing on global sanitation and hygiene issues.

Catherine Rasberry, Ph.D.
Dr. Catherine Rasberry is a Health Scientist in Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Adolescent and School Health.

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COVID-19 Data and Maps

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

As a result of COVID-19, we are collecting data about library closures, modified schedules, and alternative services. For updates to your schedule, submit this form. The data is available here.

Additionally, we are updating maps with this data (every few days).

Nebraska Libraries With Modified Services

Nebraska Libraries Offering Wi-Fi During Closures

Finally, there are some questions about collecting data and statistics for the next public library survey. Undoubtedly, there will be declines in some numbers (visits) and likely increases in others (electronic circulation). One common question thus far is how to count online or virtual programs. If the online program is a planned event, then you count it as a regular in-person program. Count everyone in virtual attendance. If other services are offered remotely, those might be counted as reference transactions, depending on the nature of the Q&A.

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NLC Office Update

As of Monday, March 23rd, our offices will be closed to walk-ins. We will still be available by phone, email, and fax. We are also suspending our passport service and will not be making any appointments during this time as well.

Due to staff limitations, if you reach our voicemail during the hours we are open, Monday – Friday; 8 am to 5 pm, please leave your name, number, and question and we will get back with you as soon as possible.

If you are a talking book user, please call 800.742.7691.
If you would like to send an email question, you may do so at: nlc.ask@nebraska.gov.

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COVID-19 and Pandemic Resources for Libraries

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

Concerned about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in your library or wondering what to tell your patrons? We’ve put together some guidance and resources for libraries.

If your library is looking for information on pandemic preparedness, including the current COVID-19 outbreak, check out our page of resources: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/libman/pandemic.aspx.

If your library is closing due to local outbreaks (or has reopened since) please let us know by filling out this form. If you need help with due dates of book club kits or ILL items due to patron illness, please contact us.

Here is a list of libraries we know are closed, have reopened, or are offering modified services: http://bit.ly/NebraskaLibraryClosuresCOVID-19. We will update this list as we hear of changes.

We have also assembled an interactive map of Nebraska libraries offering modified services during the pandemic: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/stats/covid19map.aspx.  A map of libraries offering external WiFi is here: http://nlc.nebraska.gov/stats/covid19mapwifi.aspx.

We are always updating our pages, so if you notice that we are missing a crucial resource, please reach out to us.

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