A Mini Clearinghouse on Coronavirus, Created by Two School Librarians

A handy set of key links on COVID-19; free resources and newly free access to learning services; and tips for energizing online instruction.

COVID-19 information is coming fast from cities and schools,  and we’re not seeing much library input. So, as high school librarians who want to help teachers and get ahead of the confusion, we put our heads together and made our own plans. 

First, the facts 

Top helpful stuff is not only from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

The National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) has created A Guide to COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) for Public Libraries, linking to:

For parents and students: 


Beyond handwashing

There isn’t much available about addressing COVID-19 in libraries, but a number of agencies and organizations have posted general guides with tips relevant to libraries.


About equity

As COVID-19 spreads, teachers will appreciate alerts about methods and tools for outreach. So let’s not forget about the librarian’s original form of outreach: lending books! Don’t assume access. Some schools will send home materials; many public libraries may well expand delivery and bookmobiles, as well as other services.


Send home books

If we can, we will set up checkout stations and carts of books in the cafeteria. In addition, we’re asking teachers to assign a book a week. We also plan to re-share information about ebooks and audiobooks offered by the public library. (Copy our template!)

On Twitter, we’re seeing many platforms offering free access, as well as Google Docs  with useful information. 

Change-in-access picks from Joli Boucher (@joliboucher), a tech coach in Cape Cod:

  • Bookcreator (a platform for making ebooks, now for laptops, too) offers 90 days of collaboration upgrade.
  • Brainpop has free unlimited instructional video use for closed schools.
  • Discovery Ed streaming video is making access free through the end of the school year and a new content channel “Viruses and Outbreak.”.
  • Google’s Hangout Meets premium for Google suite is now free.
  • Kahoot offers free premium access.
  • Nearpod is already supporting 100+ schools with tools, webinars.
  • Pear Deck has complimentary access to Pear Deck Premium.
  • Zoom is removing the 40-minute time limit on their basic free account for schools closed for coronavirus who want to use 1:1 or group videoconferencing.
  • Books and authors! Author Kate Messner’s rapidly growing list of authors with lessons and videos

And for K-8, nice doc here with codes for who can use, plus teacher category, from Katie Muhtaris (@katiemuhtaris) and Kristin Ziemke (@KristinZiemke).

As always, read terms of service and run these by your school system, and consider accessibility issues, data privacy, and ownership of student information and products.


Five tips for energizing online instruction:

  • Be yourself! Be human! This Chronicle of Higher Education helps you be approachable and start small.
  •  Ask questions and get feedback. Schoology, other LMS platforms, and eLearning Industry have handy tips for better web content.
  • Consider fonts and colors--they matter. eLearning Industry has accessibility tips.
  • Work with teachers NOW to embed library presence and assets in the LMS.
  •  Use Mike Caulfield’s site infodemic.blog for lessons on fact-checking virus news.
  • Check out Quadblogging for help with matching up schools with student blogging.


Further reading 



About the authors:

Paula Archey is in her second year as co-librarian at Western Albemarle High School, Albemarle Co. Public Schools. Previously, Paula was an Instruction Librarian at the University of Virginia. 

Melissa Techman is in her fifth year as co-librarian at Western Albemarle HS, Albemarle Co. Public Schools. She previously worked in K-5 and public libraries. 







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Karen Lyon

We are discussing the possibility of making books available for student checkout during closures due to corona virus. What is your strategy/plan for sanitizing books between circulations?

Posted : Mar 17, 2020 05:36

cecilia sisa

I'm really interested and currently I am doing my first year at Divine Word University

Posted : Mar 16, 2020 03:08



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