Preparing Public Librarians to Deal with the Next Health Crisis: An Environmental Scan and Needs Assessment

Posted in: Funded Research and Initiatives

Point of Contact: Dr. Jenny Bossaller at

As part of the American Rescue Plan for Museums and Libraries, the team will conduct a needs assessment and environmental scan of rural, urban, and suburban public libraries to determine strengths and weaknesses in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will review programming and services provided by public libraries to meet the health information needs of their users; and each library’s use of open data and open science resources to create informational resources. Our goals are to help libraries learn what worked and what didn’t work during the pandemic, and for which type of library; and to offer a free webinar to introduce public librarians to open information and open science resources to support them as they support their communities’ public health. The goal is to support public librarians across the country, in the short term, by increasing their knowledge of open science and open sources of information they can use to provide health data. In the long term, our hope is to support public library administrators and policy-makers by demonstrating public libraries’ public health role, exposing them to successful approaches to public health promotion, and helping them understand how to overcome barriers to information sharing in future pandemics.

PI: Dr. Jenny Bossaller; CO-PIs: Dr. Denice Adkins, Dr. Hyerim Cho, and Dr. Heather Moulaison-Sandy.