TLA Statement on Executive Order to Open Texas in Phases
Texas libraries are community centers, offering critical services to hundreds of people a day, many from high-risk backgrounds such as seniors, and families with children. Protecting the health and safety of library employees, and the people they serve is the priority of all library leaders across the state.
The Texas Library Association supports our members as they are subject to directives from local governments or parent institutions regarding reestablishing in-person library services to the communities they serve. Throughout this crisis, decisions about library operations have been driven by local governments and parent institutions, therefore, no two libraries are experiencing this pandemic in the same manner. TLA will leverage our most valuable resource, the expertise of our members, to assist librarians as they navigate through these unprecedented, stressful and uncertain times.
Gov. Abbott announced a phased reopening of certain Texas businesses, including libraries. As of May 1, libraries may operate at up to 25 percent of the total listed occupancy if permitted by the local government, but interactive areas must remain closed.
Local governing authorities will determine the timeline and requirements to open local libraries. As they address reopening, libraries’ primary concern is mitigating risk to employees and the public. They must determine how to handle collections, materials, cleaning, PPE for staff, and public interaction in order to safely reopen and sustain operations during this continuing COVID-19 crisis.
TLA has formed a COVID-19 Reopening Response team to collect and develop tools and resources for librarians to use in discussions with their governing authorities, and to prepare for reestablishing in-person services. The team, led by TLA President Christina Gola, University of Houston, includes TLA President-Elect Dan Burgard, University of North Texas Health Science Center, Manya Shorr, Fort Worth Public Library, and Mary Woodard, Mesquite ISD.
Look for additional resources to be posted to the TLA COVID-19 resources page on txla.org soon.