Adapting the workplace

Guidance from professional bodies and library services about adapting the workplace and returning to work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Guidance from the UK

Book Quarantine

Service Operational Guidance for Public Libraries in England was issued on 19 July 2021.

This is a guidance note that applies to operations in Step 4 of the government’s recovery roadmap beginning on 19 July 2021. 

The note has been prepared by Libraries Connected in consultation with Public Health England in line with published government guidance.

In relation to Book Quarantine the note states:

'As advised by PHE, there is no longer any requirement to quarantine returned books and library resources, or to wipe down their surfaces.'

CILIP Coronavirus Information Service

Coronavirus (Covid-19): Returning to the Workplace Guide – CIPD

COVID-19 General workplace safety risk assessment – CIPD (completed example)

COVID-19 Safer Libraries –  part of the COVID-19 Safer Spaces project, developed by architects to help public places reopen safely with a particular focus on libraries.

Unlocking Libraries: Guidance for Post Lock-Down Reopening – Council for Learning Resources in Colleges (CoLRiC)

Working Safely During Covid-19 – HM Government

Face coverings: when to wear one and how to make your own – DHSC/Cabinet Office - this guidance mentions wearing face coverings in ‘libraries and public reading rooms’

Man returning books in PPE

Non-urgent advice: Face coverings in libraries

We have had word from HEI colleagues that SCONUL has been in touch with the Department for Education (DfE) asking for clarification as to whether Cabinet Office guidance on face masks applies to university libraries.

The DfE has clarified that this regulation does not apply to university libraries and that the intention is that the reference to “libraries” applies only to public libraries and public reading rooms in this instance. This advice was issued based on there being other rules that apply to universities as spaces. 

For this reason hospital libraries should comply with their Trusts’ face coverings guidance.

International guidance

COVID-19 Resources for LIS Community – Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE)

Australian libraries responding to COVID-19: Checklist for reopening libraries – ALIA

COVID-19 and the Global Library Field– International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)

See Reopening Libraries, guidance from around the world

Pandemic Preparedness – American Library Association (ALA)

Best practice from NHS libraries

KLS colleagues share their plans and experiences.

Front desk with protective screens to make the library covid-safe

Other information

Coronavirus: Learning for the Health and Care Workforce

Health Education England e-Learning for Healthcare (HEE e-LfH) programme.  Includes key materials to help the health and care workforce respond to Coronavirus.

Health Education England: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Information from HEE for the Healthcare Workforce.

Social Distancing in the Library Poster

This poster is not in an accessible format.  Please contact [email protected] if you require the poster in an accessible format.

Professional literature

Links highlighting the work that Health Librarians are doing during the pandemic.

Reflections on the Roles of Librarians and Information Professionals

Ashrafi-Rizi H, Kazempour Z. Information Typology in Coronavirus (COVID-19) Crisis; a Commentary. Arch Acad Emerg Med. 2020;89(1):e19. (Open Access)

Naeem SB, Bhatti R. The COVID-19 ‘infodemic’: a new front for  information professionals. Health Info Libr J. 2020 (Open Access)

Shokraneh F. Keeping up with studies on COVID-19: systematic search strategies and resources. BMJ 2020;369:m1601. (Open Access)

Shokraneh F, Ruseel-Rose T. Lessons from COIVD-9 to future evidence synthesis efforts: first living search strategy and out of date scientific publishing and indexing industryJ Clin Epi. 2020. (Open Access)

Page last reviewed: 15 June 2021