On February 29, the city of Kirkland, Washington, reported what was then believed to be the nation’s first death from Covid-19. Just three weeks later, the American Library Association recommended libraries across the nation close their doors to the public—an unprecedented, but necessary step in the face of a historic global health crisis. Initial reports suggested the shutdowns would last a few weeks, maybe a few months. But with the calendar now into 2021, Covid-19 has exacted a heavy toll, and a return to some semblance of normalcy is not yet in sight.

As the one-year anniversary of the first Covid-19 shutdowns approaches, this latest installment of PW's Live from the Library Lounge discussion series will take stock of where libraries stand. What have we learned about the virus, and our public health systems? What has worked—and what has not? What mistakes were made? What have we learned about keeping library workers and the public safe? And what have we learned about library services and library users during this year of closures, limited service, and forced digital experimentation?

In addition to our panelists, this event will also feature a special guest interview with one of the world’s leading infectious disease researchers who will speak to what librarians can expect in the coming months and years.

This event is free, and sponsored by Library Ideas. Registration is now open: Register HERE.

Live from the Library Lounge: Covid-19 and Public Libraries—One Year Later

The free webinar series for librarians will resume with a discussion exploring how Covid-19 has impacted public libraries, including the successes, failures, the hard lessons learned, and the challenges and opportunities yet to come.

DATE: March 4 at 1 p.m. EST


Joslyn Bowling Dixon

Bowling Dixon has served as Director of the Newark Public Library since August of 2020, taking over in teeth of the pandemic. She was formerly the Deputy Director of the Prince William Public Library System in Virginia, where she also served as the Chair of the Virginia Library Association’s (VLA) Librarians of Color Forum and as VLA’s Vice President.

Brian Kenney, Ph.D

Kenney is director of the White Plains (N.Y.) Public Library and a former editorial director of Library Journal, School Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly. He is also a Publishers Weekly columnist and contributing editor, and in June authored the column “All By Ourselves” which addressed the systemic challenges and lack of guidance librarians are battling through in addressing the pandemic.

Annie Norman, Ph.D

Norman is State Librarian and Director of the Delaware Division of Libraries, a role she has served in since 2002. Under her leadership, the statewide Delaware Library Catalog Consortium was established, currently 74 participating libraries are sharing 2.5 million items for the benefit of Delawareans. In 2016, she was the first librarian to be inducted into the Hall of Fame of Delaware Women.

Patty Wong

Wong is currently City Librarian for the Santa Monica(CA) Public Library, and is the President-Elect for the American Library Association, set to take office in June 2021. Wong is a Library Journal Mover and Shaker, a recipient of the ALA Equality Award (2012). In addition to her role as board member for a number of nonprofit institutions, Wong is also adjunct faculty for the iSchool at San Jose State University, where she has taught since 2004

Hosted by Andrew Richard Albanese, Publishers Weekly Senior Writer

Among his beats, Albanese leads PW's library coverage. He has covered the publishing and information technology fields for more than 20 years, and is a former associate editor of American History at Oxford University Press, a former editor at Library Journal, and the author of The Battle of $9.99: How Apple, Amazon and the Big Six Publishers Changed the E-Book Business Overnight.