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Learn how to Manage Your Academic Library Building During a Pandemic in this Dec. 16 Core webinar

Learn how to Manage Your Academic Library Building During a Pandemic in this Dec. 16 Core webinar

Weekly masks hanging to dry after washing during the coronavirus outbreak

Closing, opening, and reopening academic libraries during a pandemic requires library decision-makers to take on new roles, learn new things, and apply new knowledge to decision making for their facilities and employees. These decision-makers find themselves in need of real-time information — not only about their own institution’s practices, but also how other libraries are responding. Some are thrust into leadership positions on their own campuses. Others struggle for guidance.
Core: Leadership, Infrastructure, and Futures will present the webinar “To Open or Not Open: Academic Library Building Management and Decision-making During a Pandemic,” on Wednesday, December 16, from 1:00 – 2:00 pm, Central Time. 

This webinar will present strategies to manage risk used on several campuses that have reopened their libraries during COVID-19. The presenters will discuss the resources referenced, experts engaged, processes undertaken both external and internal to the library to support the decision to reopen, preparations to reopen and staying open.

The architect on the panel will also explain COVID19 planning and design strategies for campus learning environments. This academic library-specific discussion is meant to help participants in their own planning, synthesizing generalized information that is available, and making it applicable to libraries, considering space, building systems, health protocols, custodial support, security, staff and student employee safety and other topics. The webinar is not intended as best practices, but rather as a guide to decision-making and planning, combined with some lessons learned and a primer for the future.

Brief presentations by each presenter will be followed by a Q&A session.

In this webinar, attendees will learn to:

Apply case studies, information, and advice from academic library decision-makers and planners to current and future decision-making at their own institutions during COVID-19 and similar situations.

Who should attend:

Academic librarians; Academic library facilities personnel; Academic library decision-makers. Information in this webinar is timely and novel.

Our presenters:

Jennie Gerke is the Associate Dean for Success and Engagement Strategies in the University Libraries at the University of Colorado at Boulder where she manages the services of Norlin Library and the three branch libraries. Her research interests are on mentoring and library leadership. Her research focuses on how users of libraries and their spaces interact, as well as mentoring and library leadership. Jennie chaired the restart group in Norlin and coordinated implementation of the reopening of contactless pickup, transformation of library spaces into classrooms, and reopening of study spaces.

Amy Kirkland is an architect and planner for the University of Colorado Boulder, where she has served as a liaison between the Library and the Facilities Management Division. As a licensed architect, Amy brings design and construction knowledge to the early planning phases of projects. Since 2014, Amy has been instrumental in the development of planning studies, program plans, and overseeing the initial design phases of capital projects for a variety of campus constituents.

Steven Escar Smith is professor and dean of libraries at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He also currently serves as special assistant to the chancellor for the COVID-19 response. In the spring of 2020, he co-chaired the Re-imagine Fall Task Force, which made campus-level recommendations for the resumption of classes, research, and other activities.

Rebecca A Richardson is Assistant Dean, Libraries and School of Information Studies, Purdue University

Luke Voiland is a principal at Shepley Bulfinch, leading higher education and library design projects including the award-winning Ringling College Alfred R. Goldstein Library and several revitalizations of mid-century modern buildings. Luke is the lead architect for the on-going Emerson College COVID-19 space planning efforts. A member of the Board of Directors, Luke has led many important initiatives for the firm, including the Summer Design Fellow program.


Core Member $43

Nonmember $59

Groups $129 (Includes a link to share with others in your institution for safe distance viewing)

ALA Student Members: $0

Can’t attend the live event? No problem! All registrants will receive a link to the recorded session for later viewing at their convenience.

How to Register:
Online: Complete the individual webinar online registration form. Sessions are listed by date, and you must log in.

By phone: 1-800-545-2433 (press 1 to reach our customer service representatives)

By mail: Click Register by mail for the session you would like to attend. (If you receive an error message after clicking the “register by mail” link, right-click the link and save the form to your computer.)

Core Code of Conduct: Please review the Statement of Conduct before registering.

Tech Requirements: A computer with Internet access and media player software is required. A high-speed connection and headphones are recommended. Core webinars are hosted through GoToWebinar. Check to see if your system supports GoToWebinar. Test your connection or audio. 

For questions about registration: contact ALA Registration at 1-800-545-2433 and press 1 or email

For all other webinar questions or comments, please contact

ALA and Core are committed to supporting our members, staff, and all librarians and library workers during these uncertain times. We will continue to offer online learning opportunities and will do our best to accommodate the remote needs of our attendees. We will also continue to offer group registration, providing individual logins for each group member registered for Core webinars. Please contact Core with any questions or concerns.