Assemblywoman Buttenschon Attends Assembly Hearing on COVID-19 Protocol for Libraries

November 20, 2020-Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon (D,I-Utica/Rome) recently attended a virtual Assembly hearing that discussed the gradual reopening of libraries statewide and maintenance of critical services. At the declaration of COVID-19 state of emergency in March, libraries were required to close and shift to virtual services. As the state has begun to reopen, libraries and library systems have resumed providing in-person services again, but with enhanced protocols to ensure the health and safety of library staff and patrons.

The Committee sought testimony on the reopening of libraries and the challenges libraries and library systems have faced due to COVID-19. In addition, the Committee sought testimony on the critical role libraries have played during this unprecedented time in ensuring digital equity and access to

“Throughout the pandemic, libraries have played a critical role in helping New Yorkers access information and stay updated on current events,” Buttenschon said. “Our libraries have worked overtime to ensure the safety of both our hardworking librarians and the patrons who rely on libraries for critical resources and services.”

During the hearing, Assemblywoman Buttenschon pointed out that libraries are an important resource for the Mohawk Valley’s refugee population and asked questions about whether libraries would be able to make reopening and closing decisions individually or on a broader regional scale.  Hearing witnesses included Assistant Commissioner for Libraries and New York State Librarian Lauren Moore and Deputy Commissioner for Cultural Education Mark Schaming.  To hear the response to Assemblymember Buttenschon’s questions, visit her website at