COVID-19 not only created a public health emergency, but also deepened the need for trusted community information, education, and connection that our libraries 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 and positioning communities for success. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Pub. L. 116-136 [March 27, 2020]) provided funds to the Institute of Museum and Library Services “to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus,…to expand digital network access, purchase internet accessible devices, and provide technical support services” for the benefit of communities impacted by the public health emergency. As part of the nation’s response to the pandemic through the CARES Act, IMLS sent State Library Administrative Agencies (SLAAs) $30 million in stimulus funds and awarded $15 million in discretionary grants to respond quickly, efficiently, and with significant impact to the national emergency. These projects focused on a number of needs. Many took concrete action to address digital inclusion needs. Some created opportunities for libraries to support positive socio-economic change now and in a future reopened environment. Others worked to sustain jobs, train staff, address the digital divide, plan for reopening, and provide technical support and capacity building for digital inclusion and engagement, giving priority to some of our highest-need communities. This panel consists of two State Librarians and two discretionary awardees who will share their projects and experiences in working to help libraries in the age of COVID-19. It will be moderated by two IMLS staff from State Programs and Discretionary programs.
identify library trends with respect to the impact of CARES Act funding.
develop their own project ideas to manage the aftermath of the pandemic at their own institution.
to connect to resources available through State Library Administrative Agencies.