BEST PRACTICES: Your Library's Temporary Emergency Home Page


With libraries closing across the United States due to the coronavirus outbreak, visits to the libraries' websites are sure to skyrocket and patrons will appreciate having the information they need right up front on the home page instead of buried in a blog post from the Library Director. 

Consider temporarily replacing your website's home page with a lean and clean version focused on timely emergency information including what the closure means to your patrons in terms of their material, accounts, and access to the library's online services. 

Be sure to cover the following topics:

  • What to do with their library materials (keep them, don't try to return anything until further notice!)
  • What happens to due dates?  (have you extended due dates for everyone so no one's account will be blocked?)
  • What happens to holds and hold queues (can you freeze everything so that no one loses their place in a queue?)
  • Make sure there's a direct like to available online resources and make those as EASY as possible to access
  • What's happening with programs in the library and outreach services and any other in-person service and when might that change?
  • If people are not yet library users, can they still get a card while the library is closed?
  • Have you made sure no one's card will expire during the closure?
  • Do not offer curbside delivery during closures.  See
  • Can you offer any NEW online programs. Maybe convert your summer reading program to an online reading program for everyone right now!  Our open-source summer reading program, Bookpoints, could be modified for that purpose.
  • What remote reference or other services can you offer? Can you ramp up your services by offering people a direct line to staff?  Can you expand the ways people can reach you? See for help with that sort of thing.