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On Tuesday, October 20th, I sat in on an online chat from ACRL. The topic was H1N1 and how libraries are responding to this issue. The chat was led by Marcia Thomas, Director of Collections & Technical Services, Illinois Wesleyan University and Meg Miner, University Archivist & Special Collections Librarian, Illinois Wesleyan University. Lots of the attendees were from schools in Florida, but also Oberlin, SUNY-Albany, Univ. of N. Texas. This was an informal Q&A session-the leaders asked general questions a the 10 or so attendees answered in piecemeal fashion.

As to the issues we covered:

•They asked how many people had H1N1 in their workplace-I mentioned the occurrences here and our Continuity of Operations plan development.
•Lots of schools had issues- not enough vaccine at some. Many universities had H1N1 sites at their university. I mentioned Wake Forest’s site.
•Some universities had H1N1 plans-but one other university left their library out of the plan
•H1N1 Plans on the website?-most said yes
•Extra measures- hand sanitizer, cleaning, hand washing encouraged, signs, staff encouraged to stay home
•Reports of more hand washing, sanitizing, etc by students
•Some actually referred students to health services
•Most students seem to be aware of healthy practices
•The idea was put forward of the library as a refuge if everyone else went home
•Some thought that the library is one of the places on campus that people look to for help
•Most libraries are developing H1N1 plans

I got the distinct feeling the libraries on campuses across the country are often taking the lead on these health related issues. That said, I think ZSR is at the forefront of the current health crisis planing how to continue operations if we have a full or partial campus shut down.