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COVID-19 Updates and Resources for IFLS Libraries

IFLS COVID-19 Guidelines document

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Staying Safe at IFLS

COVID-19 Guidelines, July 31, 2020

During the COVID-19 pandemic, IFLS has established safety protocols to protect the health of its staff, IFLS member libraries’ staff and the public while we continue to provide services.  The IFLS office is in Eau Claire County and is subject to its health regulations https://www.eauclairewi.gov/government/our-divisions/health-department. These regulations may change at any time. 

Effective August 1, 2020 IFLS will be following the Governor’s Emergency Order #1 and require mask wearing in the office.

General Guidelines

  1. Virtual/phone meetings are the preferred method of interaction between IFLS Staff and Library Staff to limit contact. If an in-person meeting/visit is needed or would result in a better interaction, then the guidelines below should be followed.
  2. IFLS Staff reserve the right not to hold in-person meetings due to personal health and/or safety reasons.
  3. Visits to the IFLS office, libraries, or other locations may be suspended at any time due to significant changes in the COVID levels within a county.

In the IFLS Office

  1. Since many staff members are working from home you should schedule an appointment if you’d like to visit in person at the IFLS Office. Visits should be limited to one staff person per visit.
  2. If you are meeting in an individual’s office and you are unable to physically distance both parties will be required to wear a mask. We can provide you with a mask if you don’t have one.
  3. Individuals should use hand sanitizer or wash their hands upon entering the building. We have hand sanitizer available at both entrances.
  4. Visitors will maintain a distance of 6 feet from all people present.

Field Visits by IFLS staff

  1. IFLS staff will contact member libraries to determine the safest time to schedule a visit. When scheduling, we will arrange:
    • Arrival time.
      1. Visits are strongly recommended to occur when the library is closed to the public.
    • Where to enter.
      1. The preference would be the use of a staff entrance or an entrance with limited interaction with patrons.
    • If the library is open and patrons are present, the library should limit/restrict patron interaction with IFLS staff.
      1. Social distancing by patrons will be required.
  1. IFLS staff will follow these safety protocols when meeting/working in libraries: hand washing/sanitizing, masks and social distance.
  2. IFLS requires that all library staff follow the same protocol when interacting with IFLS staff.
  3. If IFLS staff feels unsafe while visiting a library or other meeting location, they can suspend that day’s visit/service. In turn, if a library staff or board member feels unsafe, they may request IFLS staff follow local health or library guidelines or request IFLS staff suspend their visit.


Federal/State Guidance (American Rescue Plan)

American Rescue Plan

4/14/21 article from Governing website.

Employers can require vaccinations

Here’s vaccination coverage from WEAU.

Quick Links

Guidance for Re-opening

  • Wisconsin Public Libraries Reopening Guide, (Addendum April 2021) a collaborative effort between the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and the Wisconsin public library community, provides a process to help libraries develop their own reopening plans. This reopening guide focuses on the safety of staff and the community and is specific to the needs of libraries and library services during this COVID-19 public health event. The decision about how and when to reopen a library remains a local decision.
    The overview document offers an “At-A-Glance” view of the process, presented as steps in decision-making at the local level, while the full Reopening Guide provides a “deep dive” into different aspects of reopening, including an occupancy calculator, which can help a library determine how many people it will allow in the library or a specific space.

Use these suggestions to inform your opening decisions (from John)

  • County Health Department or County Recommendations and/or County Dashboard information (Rebecca Dixon, Baldwin, suggests that you call and talk to your local hospital instead of looking at state-wide data.)
  • Wisconsin DHS Data https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/local.htm
  • Are the municipal and/or county buildings closed to the public?
  • Did the school district move to virtual learning only?
  • News on hospital capacity (Eau Claire area are near or at capacity https://www.weau.com/2020/11/11/western-wisconsin-hospitals-are-overwhelmed-by-covid-19-patients/)
Reopening FAQs
  • Must a library close if there is a county or local health department order in place establishing restrictions similar to Safer at Home? Yes, pursuant to Wis. Stat. § 251.08, the jurisdiction of the local health department extends to the entire area represented by the governing body of the county, city, village or town that established the local health department, except that the jurisdiction of a single or multiple county health department or of a city-county health department does not extend to cities, villages and towns that have local health departments.
  • In the absence of a county or local health department order, does the governing body have authority to close the library or does that authority fall to the library board? In the absence of such an order, the statutes appear to give the library board the authority to determine whether the library should open or close. Wisconsin Stat. § 43.58(1) provides that the library board has “exclusive charge, control and custody of all lands, buildings, money or other property devised, bequeathed, given or granted to, or otherwise acquired or leased by, the municipality for library purposes.”

Open Meeting Law and Virtual Meetings 

Operations (Reopening, Curbside, Library Service Status)


This is the place to record your current operations information, so that other libraries and IFLS staff can easily scan what’s going on system-wide. Please update this when your library’s information changes. Thanks!

  • IFLS Library Operations Spreadsheet: Open status (bathrooms, community rooms), curbside, programming, staff status. Edit spreadsheet right on the linked page (no need to sign in to edit the spreadsheet).



Materials and Quarantine

  • Go to the Delivery toggle for updates on quarantine.

About Masks: Guidance from John

A few have asked if a library board meeting is needed prior to the Emergency Order going into effect. The answer is no. Libraries should be requiring face coverings/masks as outlined in the Emergency Order.

Some mentioned today during the Director Check-in some law enforcement agencies have indicated that they will not be responding to calls about individuals not wearing a mask. Your local library patron conduct/behavior policies are established to help with patron behavior issues.  Also see the attached email for the upcoming Ryan Dowd Webinar COVID:  How to deal with problem behaviours related to COVID-19. This webinar and other Ryan Dowd webinars/resources are also useful with handling problem behaviors.

Please let me know if you have any questions, John


Any changes to regular IFLS Delivery will be noted. Please submit a HelpDesk ticket or contact Maureen with any questions or concerns.

Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

WISCAT ILL restarted on August 3

WISCAT ILL requesting restarted on Monday, August 3.  Not all libraries have begun lending yet, but most Wisconsin public libraries are.

Here’s the WISCAT Basic Training Webinar presented by Maureen on August 4.

Due to the quarantine times needed, most libraries are extending their lending ILL due dates to allow more travel time.  The MORE shared system loan rule for lending items checked out to the ILL patron type has been changed – the new due date will be 49 days from check out; and the first overdue notice will not be generated for 21 days after due date.

The renewal period of 28 days will remain the same as will the second overdue generated at 14 days after the first with a bill generated at 28 days after that.

The state WISCAT staff had A-G, the WISCAT software vendor, globally update the loan periods in the IFLS area  libraries’ WISCAT Participant Records. (Reminder: Due date on incoming ILL items is the due date back from the patron, not the due date back to lending library.)  If you have any questions or you want to have different dates in your WISCAT, please contact Maureen or Gail at IFLS.Below is the information sent out to the WISCAT ILL email list with links to the recording & slides of the WISCAT webinar held by the state WISCAT staff about the restart (which includes their request for longer due dates).

Let Maureen know if you have any questions or concerns.

From Gail at WISCAT

Thank you for joining us at our webinars, this week and last, on WISCAT’s upcoming restart on Monday, August 3rd. See below for access:

As a reminder, the recording was primarily a deeper explanation of the Ramping Up WISCAT ILL document– you’ll find most of the content from the webinar right in that document.

A note on the WISCAT 101 webinar from May that I mentioned in Wednesday’s session – I promised to share a link out to that recording along with this one, but I then remembered that it was intentionally not recorded at the time (though the slides are available here and in the Documentation link when logged into your staff account in WISCAT). It was intended to be an intro followed by some informal conversation and Q&A with attendees, and we opted not to record so attendees would be comfortable asking any and every WISCAT question. Those that attended will recall that it didn’t turn out exactly that way – we ended up without much time for conversation. If your library staff is interested in WISCAT training, please Contact Us and we will be in touch.

Regarding restarting WISCAT on Monday, we have said this before but please be patient — this is going to be at least a little messy. Please also be generous with your fellow borrowers and lenders. We have all worked hard over the years to build up strong levels of trust and collaboration among the Wisconsin ILL community, and we should all be operating under the assumption, as always, that borrowers are taking good care of lenders’ items and will return them as soon as they are able.

Thanks, and as always please use the  Contact Us form to email the WISCAT team with questions, or pose your questions to the WISCAT community by emailing the WISCAT/ILL listserv at illwiscatlist@lists.dpi.wi.gov.


Self-care, mental health and connecting with others

Stop, Breathe, and Think has a website and an app for adults, one for kids

Stress and Mental Health Resources compiled by System Staff and the Division for Libraries and Technology (DPI)

Highly recommended course from Leah!

Taking Care of You course click for link

Grants and Funding

Clarification from Sep 4:

  • Routes to  Recovery funding is federal funding awarded to municipalities to help defray the expenses that they have incurred due to COVID-19.  Municipalities apply for the funding.  Libraries should save invoices for COVID-related expenses and submit to the village clerk (talk to them first).   Below are some resources that may be of use.  If you are having trouble with your municipality on this front, check with John, he has helped a few libraries talk through this.
    • There has been some confusion about using the funds for payroll, and that was addressed in a recent League of Wisconsin Municipalities email John received.  If you have city clerks, etc. thinking they could spend the funds on their own salaries or bonuses, please see the Office for Inspector General FAQ.
    • League of Wisconsin Municipalities has created a Routes to Recovery Key Guidance Takeaways that may be useful

Here’s the Weekly Digest Blog

We’ll put time sensitive or interesting information here. Look for resources, webinars, professional development opportunities. Use the search box below to search the blog archives.

Youth Services Librarian – Amery, WI

The Amery Area Public Library seeks an energetic librarian to lead its programming and services to children and young adults. With a service area population of about 10,000, the library is located within a renovated multipurpose facility. It is part of the MORE...

Thank you all for your dedication to your libraries and communities.  We have all entered uncharted territory and are having to make some difficult choices.  I wanted to let all of you know how much I appreciate you and the jobs all of you are doing.   John