Libraries reopening

With libraries reopening, library administrators are juggling a bazillion tasks in order to reopen safely and expediently.  Here are 4 free resources that will help ease the burden.

American Library Association’s State Funding Guide

American Rescue Plan Act State Guide Banner


As covered in a previous post, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) was recently allocated $200 million.  The funds are part of the American Rescue Plan Act, signed into law on March 11, 2021.  This historical measure means significant funding for libraries in every state across the nation, with a minimum funding requirement set at $2 million per state.

Now, the American Library Association has released a state funding resource for libraries, detailing how libraries of all types can obtain a portion of their state-allocated funds.  ALA has compiled this resource to support libraries and help expedite funding distribution during the recovery period.  The hope is that as libraries reopen, they will be able to maintain and even expand public programs and services.

Map of US with graphic of hand passing out dollar bills

The ALA’s State Funding Guide includes a list of funding allocations per state.  It also details information on various provisions such as the Emergency Connectivity Fund, which provides 100% reimbursement for the cost of hotspots and other Wi-Fi capable devices, modems, routers, laptops, tablets and similar devices to loan to patrons for participating libraries, and partnership opportunities for school and public libraries.

The ALA stresses that it is important for libraries to act quickly to procure funding for their institutions by contacting their local leaders and elected officials.  To support libraries in this endeavor, the State Funding Guide includes documents, information, and advocacy materials for libraries of all types, including public libraries, school libraries, and academic libraries.

Additional tools

We have gathered some additional tools that may be helpful to libraries during this period of transition.

Social distancing as libraries reopen

Social distancing public library sample design by Demco Interiors.


As libraries reopen and encourage patrons to return, there are likely still lingering concerns about safety and social distancing.  Demco Interiors has created a portfolio of virtual spaces to help libraries envision ways of adapting their spaces to keep patrons and staff safe.

Library Toolkit

Indiana State Library’s Continuing Education Toolkit for Library Professionals includes a handy list of free and paid tools across a variety of categories, such as Communication, Digital Items, Public Relations, Security, Tech Tools, Video Creation and more.  They also have COVID-19 specific tools, including activities, resources, and webinars.

Great Stories Club

Young people at library wearing masks.

The ALA’s Great Stories Club materials are free to use by any library and are all available for download on the ALA’s website.  Organized by theme, the club is designed to encourage reluctant readers and young people facing difficult life circumstances.  Reading lists are centered on themes like Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation and are supplemented by programming and promotional materials.

Launching a program like Great Stories Club is a great way to attract patrons, especially young readers, back into the library.

Even more tools for libraries reopening

This post concludes a series of recent articles about libraries and COVID-19. We’ve discussed the American Rescue Plan Act and how to make library access a reality for the visually impaired, and we’ve looked at some stellar of examples of libraries that have engineered creative, accessible programming during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We hope the additional tools and resources offered here are helpful to libraries in the recovery and reopening phase.  If we can help support your recovery efforts, particularly when it comes to accessibility, please reach out to us.

Author Information

By Bethany Wyshak. Reviewed by Stuart Flom.

A lighting industry specialist, Stu Flom worked at Dolan-Jenner, a leader in fiberoptic lighting, for 15 years before launching his own company in 1994. As product manager, Stu helped find lighting solutions for clients in such diverse areas as photography, microscopy, robotics and automotive manufacturing. He was also involved in supplying the fiberoptics illuminating the Hope Diamond exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. A member of the International Society for Optics & Photonics (SPIE), Stu was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and is the author of several publications, including Integrating Optical Fibers in Machine Vision (Proceedings), Designing Fiber Optic Lighting for Machine Vision (Society of Manufacturing Engineers), and Light Up with Fiber Optics (Vision). Prior to his work in lighting, Stu was a special education teacher. Stu’s expertise in lighting and background in education form the backbone of his company. As AdaptiVision’s founder and president, Stu is dedicated to applying advanced lighting technology to assist people struggling with low vision, teaching them how to use technology to achieve greater independence.


ALA releases American Rescue Plan state funding resource for. (2021, April 14). [Press release].

American Library Association. (2021, April 30). American Rescue Plan – State Guide.

Demco Interiors. (2021, January 19). View These Social Distancing Public Library Designs.

Indiana State Library. (2021, February 17). Helpful Tools for Libraries.