Libraries and COVID-19

Updated as of June 4, 2020 at 1:00 PM

The COVID-19 pandemic has posed new challenges for libraries of all kinds. This page has some resources and information to help guide libraries in adapting to an evolving situation.

If you have resources that should be added, please email

Webinar Recordings – Free for OLA Members, Unless Otherwise Indicated


  • Wellness Together Canada: Mental Health and Substance Use Support Portal  – Government of Canada
    Wellness Together Canada provides tools and resources to help get Canadians back on track. These include modules for addressing low mood, worry, substance use, social isolation and relationship issues.
  • COVID-19: Mental Health
    A list of resources to help manage your mental health and to respond to anxiety during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Manage Anxiety & StressCenter for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
    Resources and advice on managing anxiety and stress related to the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
  • Talking to Children about COVID-19Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
    Guidance for parents, family members, school staff, and other trusted adults to help children make sense of what they hear about COVID-19 and ways they can avoid getting and spreading the disease.
  • COVID-19 Mental Health Resources for Kids and TeensKids Help Phone
    Mental health resources for kids and teens
  • Mental Health TipsMIND UK
    Multilingual, downloadable mental health tips for managing anxiety and stress related to the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Read alouds and Resources for Readers

  • Learn: Forest of Reading website. The Forest of Reading website has over 500 resources and activities for all Forest of Reading nominated titles.
  • Learn: Online Reading Resources list (April 2, 2020). A list of online book and educational resources available for free. Created by OLA member Lynn Goodwin.
  • Watch: Blue Spruce Award program read aloud videos
    Youtube videos of Blue Spruce 2020 authors reading nominated titles.
  • Watch: Bibliovideo: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC)
    A YouTube channel dedicated to Canadian children’s books called Bibliovideo. Bibliovideo features videos and links to resources in French and English about Canadian books for children and youth.

Other Activities for Students and Libraries

  • Listen: Sound and Music Resources
  • Listen: I Value Canadian Stories Podcast from VoicEd Radio Featuring Canadian authors in discussion with retired educator Stephen Hurley and other Canadian teachers talking about what sparks their imagination and tips for students exploring their writing abilities
  • Listen: First Chapter Fridays Podcast from VoicEd Radio Educator Tanya Polasek reads the first chapter of a Canadian Young Adult book each Friday to engage her students in and outside her classroom.
  • Watch: CFE Virtual Forum Series – Ryerson University’s Centre for Free Expression
    A weekly, free webinar series on civil liberties, free expression, smart cities and more. Archived sessions will be available.

The Federation of Ontario Public Libraries (FOPL), Ontario Library Service – North (OLS-N), and Southern Ontario Library Services (SOLS) provided some early guidance for public libraries on pick-up and delivery services.

The REopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums (REALM) Project, is continuing to study the presence of the virus SARS-CoV-2 on library materials.

  • Results of Test number 4 (Sept 3, 2020) show that after six days of quarantine the SARS-CoV-2 virus was still detected on all five materials tested. When compared to Test number 1 (June 22, 2020), which resulted in nondetectable virus after three days on an unstacked hardcover book, softcover book, plastic protective cover, and DVD case, the results of Test 4 highlight the effect of stacking and its ability to prolong the survivability of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Ontario Public Library Response to COVID-19 (2020)
This survey report summarizes Ontario Public Libraries’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020.

Ontario School Library Responses to COVID-19 (2020)

This slide deck summarizes the findings from OSLA’s Ontario School Library Response to COVID-19 Survey in spring 2020.

Examples of Public Libraries responding to COVID-19:

Learn About COVID-19

Shareable Resources

  • COVID-19 Public ResourcesPublic Health Ontario
    A collection of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) fact sheets on self-isolation and self monitoring
  • Clean Hands and Covering CoughsThunder Bay District Health Unit
    This website contains multilingual posters on keeping hands clean (hand hygiene) and covering coughs and sneezes (respiratory etiquette) to prevent the spread of infections
  • Hand HygieneCity of Toronto
    This website has multiple resources on hand hygiene that includes posters on hand washing, hand sanitizer use, and coughing. These posters are available in multiple languages and can be downloaded or printed for use by patrons and staff.

Learn more: