COVID-19 - Information and Resources for Michigan Libraries

Reopening Graphics

Need a graphic to share updated library guidelines and expectations with your community? Download any of our reopening graphics for libraries. Feel free to use these on social media, your website or printed signs in your library!



During this rapidly changing situation, we are actively monitoring legislation and regulations related to COVID-19. View the latest news and announcements as we keep you informed.

View the Latest News

Executive Orders

MLA continues to follow the Governor's Executive Orders to monitor their impact on libraries. Here is the status and a short recap of Executive Orders of note to libraries as of September 30, 2020.

EO 2020-186 - Declaration of the State of Emergency and state of disaster-related to the COVID-19 pandemic effective immediately and continuing through October 27, 2020, at 11:59 pm.

EO 2020-184 - Safeguards to Protect Michigan’s Workers from COVID-19 

Businesses must continue to do their part to protect their employees, their patrons, and their communities. Many businesses have already done so by implementing robust safeguards to prevent viral transmission. This Executive Order provides workplace standards that apply to all businesses across the state and now includes sports venues, movie theaters, gyms and other entertainment venues. This Executive Order changes occupancy limits for buildings over 50,000 square feet to 20 people per 1,000 square feet in all regions. It also updates occupancy limits for building less than 50,000 square feet in Regions 1-5 and 7 to 25% occupancy and in Regions 6 and 8, there are no occupancy limits OTHER THAN meeting/gathering limits as specified in EO 2020-183 and limiting occupancy to number of people that can occupy the building with 6 feet of social distancing.

EO 2020-183Safe Start Order (to take effect October 9, 2020 – at that time, EO 2020-176, EO 2020-180 and EO 2020-181 will be rescinded)

In this and in prior rescinded Executive Orders, Michiganders are no longer required to stay home. Businesses that must remain closed are specified in this Executive Order. Any work that is capable of being performed remotely must be performed remotely except in Regions 6 and 8. Under one of the past orders that this one replaced, libraries were able to reopen on June 8 and provide in-person services.  This Executive Order amends social gatherings and organized events with fixed seating and non-fixed seating (of most concern to libraries.)

Beginning October 9, 2020, events held in library meeting or event rooms, such as group meetings, board meetings, programs, etc. that meet the definition of “ organized event or social gathering” as listed in EO 2020-183 and its FAQ, must have limited attendance in Regions 1-5 and 7 - to 20 people per 1000 square foot or one person for every 50 square foot of space. In Regions 6 and 8 the limits are 25 people per 1,000 square foot or one person for every 40 square foot of space.

EO 2020-172 - Protecting workers who stay home, stay safe when they or their close contacts are sick

This Executive Order prohibits employers from discharging, disciplining, or retaliating against employees who make the responsible choice to stay home when they or their close contacts are sick. Under this Executive Order, employers must treat employees who stay home when they are sick as if he or she were taking medical leave.

EO 2020-154 - Alternative means to conduct government business during the COVID-19 pandemic

Allows public bodies subject to the Open Meetings Act, including boards, commissions, committees, subcommittees, authorities, councils and nonprofit boards, to use telephone or video-conferencing methods to continue meeting and conducting business during the COVID-19 public health crisis, so long as they follow certain procedures to ensure meaningful access and participation by members of the public body and the general public.

EO 2020-153 - Mask Wearing (in effect Monday, July 13)

To protect workers, shoppers, and the community, no business that is open to the public may provide service to a customer or allow a customer to enter its premises unless the customer is wearing a face covering as required by this order. This order clarifies that businesses may not assume that an unmasked customer cannot medically tolerate a face covering, though they may accept a customer’s verbal representation to that effect. Any individual who leaves their home or place of residence must wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when in any indoor public space, when outdoors and unable to consistently maintain six or more feet, and when on public transportation.


Phased-in Plan Resources and Examples

We urge you to read through the questions for reopening that have been compiled by the 11 library cooperatives across Michigan. This is a very extensive list of questions that all libraries should be asking and addressing as they create their phased-in reopening plans. It is attached here for your perusal.

Library of Michigan
Public Library Reopening and Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Plan Template

East Lansing Public Library
ELPL Guidelines for Reopening after a Pandemic

American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA)
Reopening Guidance for Libraries

Please note resources are provided for information purposes only and are not legal advice.

MLA Connect

MLA Connect provides virtual education and engagement opportunities you can access from anywhere to keep you connected to the library community in Michigan. Check out archived webinars and coffee hours below. Please note recordings are provided for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice.

MLA Connect Coffee Hour: Library Social Services

Libraries are often the community’s safety net and provide critical assistance and services to those who need it most. How can your library still fulfill these needs and provide support when community access in your building is limited or unavailable? 

MLA welcomes Tiffany Russell, LMSW, Social Worker at the Niles District Library, to this month’s MLA Connect Coffee Hour to talk about how she supported her community before and during the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as share some ideas about how you can be that resource for your own community whether you have an on-staff social worker or not. View Coffee Hour Recording

MLA Connect Coffee Hour: De-escalation Tactics

Grab a cozy mug of your favorite beverage and join MLA for a discussion about communicating effectively to our patrons and de-escalating situations that may arise during reopening. How do you enforce a mask policy? How do you hold patrons to new standards for safety? Learn from psychotherapist Casey Coker about best practices for interactions post-COVID. View Coffee Hour Recording

MLA Connect Coffee Hour: Ask a Library Lawyer

Grab a cozy mug of your favorite beverage and join MLA as we continue our discussion about safely reopening our libraries. Back by popular demand, Attorney Anne M. Seurynck will join us to discuss the legal aspects of enforcing new safety standards and what libraries should and should not consider as they enter new reopening phases*.View Coffee Hour Recording

MLA Connect Coffee Hour: Reopening Academic Libraries

Join our new MLA President, Dr. Jennifer Dean, Dean of Libraries and Instructional Technology at the University of Detroit Mercy, for the MLA Connect Coffee Hour: Reopening Academic Libraries. Jennifer will help facilitate conversation about how academic libraries throughout the state are planning their reopening and preparing for students this fall. Attendees are encouraged to share how their libraries are preparing and brainstorm ideas for common concerns. Learn more and view the archived recording.

MLA Connect Webinar: Libraries and the Legal Impacts of COVID-19

How will the evolving state regulations, executive orders, and the federal stimulus package affect your staff and community? Join MLA and Attorneys Anne Seurynck and Mike Blum of Foster, Swift, Collins, & Smith PC as they review the impacts of COVID-19 regulations and directives on Michigan libraries and their employees and offer an opportunity for participants to ask questions about issues they are currently facing during this time of uncertainty. Learn more and view the archived recording.

MLA Connect Coffee Hour: Summer Reading Programs 2020

With limited services, reduced access to library spaces, and socially distant staff and patrons, how should we approach summer reading programs? Join Cathy Lancaster from the Library of Michigan as we discuss the best practices and ideas for youth service staff to navigate through 2020 summer program ideas. View Coffee Hour Recording

MLA Connect Coffee Hour: Human Resources in the Time of COVID-19

Dealing with new and unexpected HR issues? Wondering how to handle employee schedules and pay during library closures? Interested in best practices to help guide you? Carol Stone, SPHR, Director of Human Resources & Labor Relations for the City of Midland will join MLA to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic from an HR Director’s perspective. Grab a cup of coffee and come with your questions ready at 10:00 am on Wednesday, May 13. Learn more and view the archived recording. 

MLA Connect Coffee Hour: COVID-19 in Small and Rural Libraries

Grab a cup of joe and join Director of the Presque Isle District Library, and newest member of the MLA Board of Directors, Amber Alexander, for a discussion on how COVID-19 has impacted smaller and rural libraries. MLA Event and Programming Director Amber Sheerin will facilitate this conversation and audience interaction and questions will be welcome! Learn more and view the archived recording.

MLA Connect Coffee Hour: Emotional Health During COVID-19

This is a time of uncertainty and we need to be intentional about how we care for ourselves and our community. In this conversation, we will discuss ways to adapt our expectations, increase self-compassion, focus on mindful awareness, and support each other. Join MLA and Casey J. Coker for a conversation about what self-care and community support look like and mean to you. View Coffee Hour Recording

MLA Connect Coffee Hour: Reopening Guidelines

Grab a mug of your favorite beverage and join East Lansing Public Library Director and MLA President, Kristin Shelley for this week's MLA Connect Coffee Hour. Each week we will provide a platform for you to ask questions, share ideas, and provide input to other library professionals struggling with the global health crisis, remote work, and how to prepare for the future. Kristin will help facilitate this conversation about how Michigan libraries can best prepare to keep their staff and patrons safe when the time comes to reopen. Having a plan in place is critically important to keeping our communities healthy. View Coffee Hour Recording

MLA Connect Coffee Hour: Ask Your State Librarian!

Grab a mug of your favorite beverage and join Randy Riley from the Library of Michigan for our first installment of MLA Connect Coffee Hour. Each week we will provide a platform for you to ask questions, share ideas, and provide input to other library professionals struggling with the global health crisis, remote work, and how to prepare for the future. State Librarian Randy Riley will help facilitate this conversation about how Michigan libraries are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and how we can all move forward before and after reopening. View Coffee Hour Recording

Additional Information and Resources

▪    CDC guidelines

▪    CDC When to wear gloves

▪    CDC When and How to Wash your hands

▪    CDC Handwashing Posters

▪    CDC How to Protect Yourself and Others

▪    CDC Feeling Sick?Sign

▪    CDC Homemade FaceCoverings

▪    CDC Stop the Spread of Germs

▪    EPA Approved Cleaning and Disinfecting Supplies and Procedures

▪    FDA Best Practices for Pick-up/Delivery Services

▪    White HouseGuidelines

▪ CoronavirusInformation

▪    GovernorWhitmer’sMISafeStartPlan

▪    Governor Whitmer’s Executive Orders

▪    Disinfectants for COVID-19

▪    OSHA Guidance for Reopening

If you are laid off as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, you can apply for unemployment assistance online. Visit to file a claim. You will need your Social Security number, driver's license number, names and addresses of employers over the last 18 months, quarterly earnings, last day of employment at each place, employer's federal ID number and alien registration number if you aren't a U.S. citizen. Normally, you must register for work at Michigan Works! but this rule has been suspended to make it easier for those affected by the novel coronavirus to receive benefits. Read the press release here.

The Centers for Disease Control provides updates on the virus and safety information for the public and healthcare professionals.

The State of Michigan provides updates on the disease's spread within the state, as well as frequently asked questions available here.

The State Department provides a list of travel advisories for those who are planning to fly outside of the United States.

American Association of Law Libraries
AALL’s Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates & Resources

American Library Association
Pandemic Preparedness Resources for Libraries

American Library Association's Public Programs Office
Serving Patrons Experiencing Homelessness in a COVID-19 Shutdown
6 COVID-19 Resources You (Probably) Don’t Know About
COVID-19: Italian Librarians on the Lockdown

Association for Library Service to Children
Best Practices for Cleaning Play and Learn Spaces

Association of College and Research Libraries
Pandemic Resources for Academic Libraries

Association of Research Libraries
COVID-19 News & Resource Pages
Mitigating COVID-19: The Contribution Research Libraries Are Making

Foundation for Advancement in Conservation
Collections Care Amid COVID-19

Library of Congress
The Impact of Hand Sanitizers on Collection Materials

Medical Library Association
COVID-19 Resources for Medical Librarians & Other Health Information Professionals

National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
Isolating, Disinfecting, and Cleaning Historic Materials

National Network of Libraries of Medicine
A Guide to COVID-19 for Public Libraries

Northeast Document Conservation Center
Disinfecting Circulating Books

Public Library Association
PLA Resources on COVID-19

Small Business Administration
Economic Injury Disaster Loan

Society of American Archivists
Resources for Response to COVID-19 Health Crisis

Urban Library Council
Coronavirus Resources


Uniting the Michigan Library Community

MLA is proud to partner with organizations serving the library community.