Library Advocacy Updates from Indiana Library Federation
May 1, 2020
I n this issue of your Library Advocacy Update
  • New Executive Order includes public libraries
  • Pandemic and the need for increased broadband
  • Federal legislation and guidance on pandemic response
  • Understanding SEA410
Key Links
Indiana Library Federation Appreciates Governor Holcomb’s
Recognition of Public Libraries in Back On Track Indiana plan

Earlier today, Governor Holcomb outlined the Back On Track Indiana guidance and plan for lifting restrictions through July 4, dependent upon four guiding data-based principles . In March, Indiana’s 236 public libraries closed their public spaces in order to prevent community spread of the coronavirus.

Indiana Library Federation (ILF) sincerely appreciates that public libraries are specified in Back On Track Indiana Plan Stage 2 , and Executive Order 20-26 , which gives Indiana’s public libraries the ability to phase in services according to local needs, staff capacity, and the community’s situation . Indiana’s public libraries are governed by local library boards, who with the library director, develop plans for reopening in phases. ILF and Indiana's public libraries have been working collaboratively to plan phases of reopening safely over time.

As the Governor has indicated in prior briefings, when an industry sector is allowed to open does not mean that it  must  open. CDC guidance about social distancing and masks will continue. Libraries will continue to follow their local policy and local county guidance as they begin phasing in limited-contact services like curbside and document services. Libraries in Lake, Marion, and Cass counties will follow a longer time horizon to phase in services due to state and local guidance.

Pandemic Underscores the Need for Increased Broadband

The pandemic has reinforced the need for expanded broadband. Hoosiers should have access to affordable broadband to participate in the economy, education, enrichment, and government.
 
To that end, the majority of Indiana’s public libraries have extended Wi-Fi access into their parking lots for safe, socially distanced internet access. See ILF’s Public Library Wi-Fi map, ( www.ilfonline.org/page/Wi-Fi-map ). Public meeting spaces and computer labs remain closed or restricted to prevent community spread of the virus.

Many public libraries lend mobile hotspots and other devices (computers, tablets, etc.). Libraries, schools, and nonprofit organizations explore increasing the availability of mobile hotspots. It is important to remember that hotspots are a stopgap solution, and that there are many areas of state where they may not work. We are hopeful that a silver lining of this pandemic will be increased broadband access.  
Federal Legislation and Guidance re: COVID-19

Federal officials have enacted new laws and policies to respond to the global pandemic.
  • Families First Coronavirus Response Act, or FFCRA , enacted 3/18, largely deals with paid leave associated with the need to self-quarantine or to take off work with pay if sick, caring for another, or responsible for children whose school or child care is closed. See poster related to various types of FFCRA paid leave.
  • Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act , enacted 3/27, is a stimulus package that includes unemployment, small business loans, paycheck protection program, direct payments to citizens, and support for federal, state, and local governments. Learn about Coronavirus tax relief. The CARES Act included $50 million to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), which should result in $600,000 to Indiana. The Indiana State Library is developing its plan for the funding. See ALA's summary of library-related provisions. The National Conference of State Legislatures offers easy-to-read highlights of the entire bill.
  • President Trump issued the Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, which outlines a three-phased approach to help state and local officials determine policies related to reopening economies, returning to work, and protecting lives.

Indiana Library Federation launched its PL2030, public library sustainability initiative . After spending eight months completing research and planning, the PL2030 Committee members shared the data analysis and PL2030 self-assessment tool developed to help public libraries thrive into the future. Learn about library services, finances, population, and workforce trends.
You may view the slides or recording . Indiana's public libraries are asked to submit the self-assessment scores by May 29.
Senate Enrolled Act 410 , PL88, was signed into law by Governor Holcomb on 3/18/20. ILF proactively advocated for this new library law in response to members and stakeholders.

If you missed our training session in early April, you may watch the  Understanding SEA410 recording   or  view the slides .
General Assembly Links
Indiana Library Federation Links