Public Library Response to COVID-19: Beyond Service Changes and the Role in Combating Misinformation

Hu, Zhan; Jiang, Jie; Zhang, Yishan

Under COVID-19, Public libraries continued to provide much-needed services to their local communities, providing resources and references in adjusted ways while collaborating with local emergency response teams. Moreover, some public libraries leveraged their position as a community's trusted information source and took on a more proactive role in evaluating and providing high-quality information resources, aiming to stop the spread of false facts and mitigate the damage from misinformation. This paper reviewed 51 cases of library websites to investigate their efforts in providing COVID-19 information and resources. Results indicate that 25 public libraries developed and maintained their own "COVID-19 information page", while other libraries took different approaches, such as linking to external resources. Resource topics covered on these information pages were coded and analyzed. Public libraries’ performances varied; some have taken the lead to organize and explicitly highlight credible resources to fight misinformation, others have reservations and posted limited responses.