The Post-Pandemic Library Handbook provides an approach for re-opening, re-engineering and redesigning library facilities, resources, services and staff.
American Library Association Past-President Julie Todaro developed this Handbook to provide a path forward for all types and sizes of libraries.
She uses narrative and technical writing (with dozens of checklists, examples, recommendations and 30+ tables) to take a detailed look at where we are and where we need to be.
Because no function, resource or service was left unaffected by the pandemic, chapters and tables allow readers to assign their own timelines to stages.
Handbook chapters include: Facilities: Services, Support, and Storage Spaces; Collections and Resources; Assessment and Accountability; Human Resources, Critical Training, and Education; Communication during Emergency Events; Management and Organizational Design: Unique Issues; Leadership during Extreme Emergencies: The Pandemic; Pitfalls, Problems, Mistakes, and Failures; Service Access and Delivery; and, Public Relations, Marketing, and Branding.
Appendices feature tools for operational and strategic planning; an approach for prioritizing current and upcoming pandemic information; and an annotated list of 28+ resources tracked during the COVID years to assist in updating data for background and decision making.
Dr. Julie Todaro is the dean of Austin Community College (ACC) Library Services. Her professional career includes academic library manager; library educator (management, public libraries,) and public librarian. She manages 200 employees at ACC who provide library resources and services throughout eleven campus libraries in 8 counties.
Todaro is the author of the 2020 2nd edition of Emergency Preparedness for Libraries, the 2015 Mentoring A-Z, and the 2014 Library Management for the Digital Age: A New Paradigm. She co-authored the 2006 Training Library Staff and Volunteers to Provide Extraordinary Customer Service. Todaro is frequent presenter on a variety of topics and across all types of libraries, library settings and non-profit management, including three 2020 national webinars on libraries and the pandemic. She is a library consultant and in her practice serves as an advisor and project lead with expertise in all aspects of management, leadership, library facilities and operations.
Todaro’s association activities and leadership focus on all types of libraries and librarians. On the national leadership level Julie was the 2016-2017 president of the American Library Association (ALA) with an initiative focus on librarians titled Libraries Transform: the Expert in the Library and was the 2007-2008 past-president of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL.) On the state leadership level, Julie was the 2000-2001 president of the Texas Library Association (TLA).
Todaro earned her DLS from Columbia University’s School of Library Service, a MLS from The University of Texas at Austin ISchool (with a school librarian all-level lifetime certification). She was TLA’s 1996 Librarian of the Year award-winner, received TLA’s 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award and recently was awarded TLA’s 2019 Distinguished Service Award.
1: If We Had Been Ready
2: Facilities: Services, Support and Storage Spaces
3: Collections and Resources
4: Assessment and Accountability
5: Human Resources, Critical Resource and Training
6: Communication during Emergency Events
7: Management: People and Organizational Structures
8: Leadership during Emergency Events
9: Pitfalls, Problems, Mistakes and Failures
10:Service Access and Delivery during Emergency Events
11: Public Relations, Marketing and Branding
12: Returning to Begin Again
Appendix A: Introduction
Appendix B: Supporting Content
Appendix C: Supporting Content for COVID-19/Pandemic Events
Appendix D: Recommended Resources
During this time of catastrophic global upheaval, we marveled at the nimble businesses and organizations that rapidly reassessed and re-focused their operations and services to address customer needs. This book by Julie Todaro is a masterful blueprint of the thinking, decisions, and actions necessary to prepare all leaders and managers to succeed in an unprecedented environment. With an abundance of library examples, charts, and insightful tips, Todaro’s wisdom applies to all public and private entities that have been challenged during this emergency and realize that organizational change must occur continuously and systematically to ensure future success. As a recently retired executive of an association serving thousands of members, I wish that this foundational book had been available to my board, staff, and members!
Julie Todaro once again draws on her extensive knowledge and success in working with numerous types and sizes of libraries in these difficult times of crisis. She is sharing her expertise, as she always has, in her special supportive way so that we can all learn to cope, maintain and excel.
This is a must-have for all library directors in medium to small public libraries. It is especially poignant today while we are all dealing with this constantly changing COVID world.
The Post-Pandemic Library Handbook offers readers, likely all library managers at some level or other, a wealth of insights. I am a school librarian who spent my career in solo or small situations; this book is just as helpful to me as to a director of a large library of any type. The first reason for any librarian to read this book is that the world is not done with pandemics, and is not likely to have another hundred-year hiatus (taking the 1918 flu as the start). Despite the density of the content, the book is effectively short and quite readable but brings detailed focus to every aspect of library service from the frontline workers to the back-of-house technical services employees with many very straight-forward tables to break points for consideration into bite-sized chunks. For many school librarians, we are everything from front-line to back-of-house as solo managers of a small space. Todaro offers a section of every chapter that translates the big concepts to be approachable in condensed situations like school libraries. The underlying message I take no matter the size of your library is to remain true to your mission, vision, and values and to keep a consistent tone to all communications EVEN in the midst of the likely chaos of pandemic news streams.
The opening chapter “If We Had Been Ready” is an apt beginning which repeats as a section of every following chapter as a reminder to readers to think about what they had in winter 2020 and how they wish it had been better: more flexible, more forward thinking, more aware of public-health, mental health and self-care, and all the other topics around our actual work.
There is also the need for constant re-assessment of what is working and what is not. While this is important every day in every library, the necessity of such constant awareness in crisis situations is increased. And that accountability needs to be recorded for analysis when the dust settles some months/years in the future. Written records of what worked when and how it needed to change as the months wore on will be incredibly useful as libraries build their crisis plans for future eventualities.
I was especially struck by the discussion of facilities needs then, now and moving forward. In thinking of the REALM studies of how long the COVID virus remained viable on various circulating resources, it should come as no surprise that as library furniture needs to be replaced and spaces redesigned, all surfaces will need to be cleanable and social distancing considerations kept in mind. The days of comfortable upholstery and tight office spaces for many workers are gone. And Todaro is clear this adaptation will be slow and ongoing – libraries don’t redesign anything very often given our tight budgets.
Her final chapter “Returning to Begin Again” includes personal experiences which bring pandemic concerns home to readers. Any of her reflections could be anyone of us, or one of our patrons. These considerations bear attention NOW, as we (hopefully) finish with COVID19 and before we must face whatever is coming next. The point of this book is that planning ahead is our friend, and will serve us and our school communities well going forward.