View Field Guide

In the summer of 2020, the project team worked with 137 library staff in the United States to learn how they are supporting their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, when library buildings were fully or partially closed. COVID-19 was the impetus for this work, however, as the process launched, the country saw increased civic unrest resulting from the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and Dion Johnson. As a result of the multiple crises facing the nation, this work took on an expanded role with a focus on the multiple crises facing the country.

As these crises unfolded, it became apparent that public libraries are aspiring to support their communities, but do not know how-to or rush to design ways to serve their communities. They reacted and provided what they could as events unfolded. Through a series of seven virtual participatory design sessions, we co-learned and co-created solutions on how to support communities during crises with library staff serving non-dominant youth and their families. We created a Field Guide that maps the essentials tasks that public library staff must enact pre and during crises. While this Field Guide focuses on supporting non-dominant youth and families, we believe this Field Guide can be adapted to serve the needs of other age groups and can also be used at any time.  To learn more about what we learned throughout our work and the impetus to the Field Guide, we encourage you to read our articles published in the School Library Journal


Lead YX Faculty:

Mega Subramaniam |

Associated Researcher:

Linda Braun (LEO) |

Graduate Student Researchers:

S. Nisa Asgarali-Hoffman (UMD)
Keanu Jordan-Stovall (UMD) 
Nitzan Koren (UMD)

Notable Publications: 

Library Staff as Public Servants: A Field Guide for Preparing to Support Communities in Crises (PDF format) | (Flipbook format)
Reimagining Libraries Series | School Library Journal
Crisis-Related Research in Service to Practice: Researchers Step Up | The Library Quarterly
Serving Your Community During a Crisis: It Doesn’t Require Doing More It Requires Doing Different | Public Libraries  (Members only content)


What is Essential When Serving Youth and Families During Crises?

Additional Information: 

Additional information can be found at