This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).


SALS is going to suspend delivery services on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. On Monday, totes will be dropped off at your library, but nothing will be picked up. SALS & JA staff are still here to assist you but most of us are working remotely.


  • OverDrive has removed all blocks for patrons.
    • If patrons are over the fine limit they will still be able to download book and
    • if patrons account are blocked because of the yearly address check they will still be able to download e-content
  • We encourage those of you with hoopla, cloudLibrary, Kanopy, freegal, freading, etc. to contact your vendors directly and have them remove blocks to accessing this content as a public service.


We advise you to add your unexpected closure to the Dates Closed table in Polaris, since it is good to have the date recorded there. But, the issue is that adding a closed date when it happens for an emergency (e.g. snow date) doesn’t change the due date for items that are already due on that date (after the fact), and overdue fines will be calculated based on that original due date. 

When the closed date is entered, and then patrons return items that were due before that date, they will not be charged for that date.  For example, an item was due on 1/23, and 1/24 is entered as a closed date, and the item is returned on 1/25, then the patron is charged only 1 day for an overdue (for 1/25; 1/24 becomes a ‘free’ day). 

If the item was due on the closed date, and the patron either returns or renews the item on the day following the closed day, he/she will still be charged one day for overdue fines, even if you have added that closed date to the Dates Closed table. For example, an item was due on 1/24, and 1/24 is entered as a closed date, and the item is returned on 1/25, then the patron is still charged 1 day for an overdue. This is the scenario that causes the most issues.

Staff can handle most of the fallout from an unexpected closed day(s) by:

  1. The day following the closed date, the library can:
    1. a.  Check everything in with one (or more) free day(s).
    2. b.  If/when patrons call in to renew items that were due the day before, they can waive the one day fine while renewing.  
  2. There is nothing we can do for renewals from the PAC; if the patron with an item due on the closed date renews from the PAC the day after, he/she will be charged 1 day fine.
  3. The week following the closed date, staff can respond to patron complaints about fines/renewals on a case-by-case basis and waive fines accordingly.
  • Please be advised that you may experience extended wait times for requested library items due to staffing issues or library closures in the coming weeks as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lending Library

SALS lending library will be suspending services for the near future.


Mental Health, Well-Being & Stress Relief

Library Closings

Here is a living document of Libraries that have closed.


On Saturday, March 7, 2020, Governor Cuomo declared a state of emergency as the reporting of cases of COVID-19, more commonly known as the coronavirus, began to rise. Locally, we know of several confirmed cases in Saratoga County.

Public libraries have a critical role to play in sharing information and resources related to this public health crisis. At this point, the priority is to remain calm, be informed and share what we know with the public, and reduce opportunities for transmission. While we cannot control COVID-19, we can regulate our response to it, and be thoughtful about how we interact and have contact with others, be sure to take ample preventative measures (wash your hands!), keep ourselves healthy, and self-quarantine if we are sick.

What is COVID-19?

The World Health Organization designated COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on January 30, 2020.

COVID-19, commonly known as the coronavirus, causes a range of respiratory illnesses that can be particularly dangerous to senior citizens and people with compromised immune systems and underlying health conditions. The main difference between the flu and COVID-19 is the speed of transmission – the coronavirus has a longer incubation period, which can last up to 14 days from the time of infection to the appearance of symptoms. The virus may be transmitted by people who do not display symptoms, which makes it difficult to track. COVID-19 spreads relatively through pathogens in the air, in respiratory droplets. Symptoms include fever, cough, difficulty breathing, and shortness of breath. According to the World Health Organization, there are currently no vaccines for COVID-19.

COVID-19 Testing

The CDC’s test to determine whether an individual has contracted Coronavirus is, at this time, only available at a laboratory that the CDC has designated as qualified. It is unclear whether testing will be made available to most health care practitioners; the CDC has indicated only that it will soon “share these tests with domestic and international partners.” New York has asked the CDC for authorization to test in-state, rather than requiring samples to be sent to the CDC’s headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. New York is also creating its own test for COVID-19. (Source: The National Law Review)

Tracking the Testing
*Data gathered from the COVID Tracking Project

Hotline for Testing Questions

NYS Department of Health COVID-19 Hotline –  (888) 364-3065.  Call this number if you are inquiring about testing.

How should my library prepare?

First, take a deep breath. Remain calm. Focus on what preventative measures you can take to keep your community healthy. Some best practices include:

  • Social distancing (practice your introvert superpowers). Stay at least six feet away from people who are sick. At the library, consider removing some chairs or shutting down some computers to provide more space between patrons.
  • Familiarize yourself with your library’s policies and procedures regarding health outbreaks.
  • Keep the library stocked with tissues, soap, paper towels, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and disposable wipes.
  • Check on elderly patrons and colleagues.
  • Review and update policies about closing the library.
  • Communicate clearly with colleagues about any projects in case you or someone you caretake gets sick and you have to remain at home.
  • Promote digital resources – ebooks, e-audiobooks, and streaming services can be used by people who may be quarantined or choose to self-isolate.
  • Make provisions for patrons who may not have computer access at home.
  • Remain home if you are sick. If you do go out, consider wearing a face mask to reduce transmission of the disease.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds. If you can’t wash your hands with soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol (vodka will not do the trick).
  • Provide clear signage about handwashing, and protocols for keeping healthy.
  • Cover your mouth and nose if you are sick, or when you cough or sneeze.
  • Avoid touching your face. We know, it’s hard. Keep your fingers away from your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces – including doorknobs, keyboards, light switches, and phones. Here is a CDC page on How to Clean, it is important to note the difference between cleaning, disinfecting, and sterilizing.
  • Do not shake hands. Practice your bow or curtsy.
  • Consult your library’s Business Continuity Plan. If you don’t have one in place, now’s a great time to think about creating one.
  • If you have not already, schedule a flu shot to provide protection to your immune system (it will not prevent COVID-19).
  • Minimize large gatherings of people. When possible, host virtual meetings.
  • Reach out to your county health department.
  • Get plenty of sleep, eat well, exercise, and drink lots of water.
  • Don’t be racist. COVID-19 was not generated from any race, ethnicity, or nationality.

For more information about what to do at work, check out these resources:

Sample Policies

What if someone appears to be sick?

Use this opportunity to communicate, both internally and exterally, messages encouraging patrons not to use the library facility if they are experiencing symptoms of infectious disease (e.g. signage, email newsletters, etc.). Ask patrons to follow common public health advice (e.g. good cough and sneeze etiquette, hand washing). 

Do not approach or target any individual patrons or groups of patrons exhibiting symptoms of respiratory illness and ask them to reconsider their use of the library. There are many non-contagious conditions that may cause a person to display symptoms. 

Hotline for Testing Questions

NYS Department of Health COVID-19 Hotline –  (888) 364-3065.  Call this number if you are inquiring about testing.

Maps & Visuals:

Other Resources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
Coronavirus at a Glance: Infographic
National Institute of Health
National Library of Medicine
Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center
Medline Plus
NYS Department of Health
Coronavirus Misinformation Tracking Center
#librariesResist Health and Pandemics Resource List

County Departments of Health

Hamilton County Department of Health
Warren County Department of Health
Washington County Department of Health
Saratoga County Department of Health

New York State Novel Coronavirus Hotline: (888) 364-3065
Glens Falls Hospital COVID-19 Hotline: 518-926-HELP (4357)

Risk Assessment & Public Health Management Decision Making