1. Public Health Hunger Games:
Internet Librarian 2021
26 October 2021
From the Land of the Council of Three Fires, the
Odawa, Ojibwe, and Potawatomi Nations
3. Embracing the Scientific Uncertainty
• How Science Evolves:
– Hypothesis Framed
– 100s of studies by competing teams
– Findings presented at niche conferences
• Flaws are called out, researchers go back to the lab for
100s or 1000s more experiments
– Peer reviewed journals present results to the
4. How It Has Evolved with COVID-19
• Federal agencies create guidelines regarding
an unfamiliar and rapidly spreading virus,
changing them as the situation evolves
• WHO and CDC have disagreed on:
– Definition of a pandemic
– Frequency of asymptomatic infections
– Safety of COVID-19 vaccines for pregnant women
– Necessity of booster shots and for whom
5. What Would Help?
• Two-minute videos explaining basic concepts
• Information hotlines and public forums at local, state, and
• A responsive social media presence to counter
• Holding off on the fact checkers
• Clarence Page: psychologists recommend speaking with a
trusted physician or other figure
• Pew: Librarians!
7. Just the FAQs, Ma’am
• Gold Standard Data:
– World Health Organization
– Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
8. Rock Solid Data (cont’d)
• Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker
• Global Epidemics
9. Sources for Creating One-Pagers
• What We Now Know About How to Fight the Delta Variant
• “The vaccine is not like sunscreen.” (or teflon)
• The Checkup with Dr. Wen
• Bloomberg Prognosis
• Economist Coronavirus Hub
10. Eight Coronavirus Facts to Combat
• Masks Work
• There is no cure for COVID-19
• Hospitals are not inflating their coronavirus case numbers in order
to gain financially
• Coronavirus is more deadly than influenza
• The coronavirus vaccine does not alter DNA
• Public health measures such as staying home, using hand sanitizer,
and washing hands does not lead to compromised immunity
• Current scientific consensus is that coronavirus originated in
• A “let ‘er rip” herd immunity strategy would overwhelm the health
11. The Fake News Pre-Emptive Strike:
Pre-Bunk Rather than De-
• Prepare and Distribute Three Briefs:
---Counter-Brief Refuting False Arguments
---Call out distortions in the science
---Emphasize Scientific Agreement
---Work in Tandem with Confirmation Bias
---False Arguments Brief
• Ask A Know-It-All to Explain How Things Work
– “They don’t know what they don’t know.” The struggle
to explain erodes overconfidence.
• Let A Stubborn Person Seize the Reins
– “What if, Could we?” Ask questions to overcome defensiveness
and possibly spark curiosity and new thinking
• Find the Right Way to Praise a Narcissist
– Praise in an unrelated area
• Poor decision-making skills? Commend their creativity.
• If they are secure about a strength, they are more accepting of a shortcoming.
• Disagree with the Disagreeable
– They’re energized by the conflict and ready to duke it out
13. Mask Efficacy
• Florida Atlantic University
15. We Get By With a Little Help From Our
• Mask Nerd Videos (aka Aaron Collins)
• Tara Cole’s Filtration Efficacy Spreadsheet
16. Mask Data
• Tips for Finding Reliable Masks
• “Legitimate” and “Genuine”
• Is the same product being sold over time?
• Is the contact information a free email account?
• Does the website contain typos or grammatical errors?
• Is the domain name misspelled?
• Are there blank pages, dummy text, broken links, or a
18. Epidemic Esperanto
• Doses Delivered v. Doses Administered
• Efficacy v. Effectiveness
• Positive Tests/Breakthrough Infections
– Vaccine Goal: Preventing Illness, not Infection
– The vaccine is not like sunscreen
– “When a high percentage of people start wearing
seatbelts, a higher percentage of motor vehicle fatalities
are going to involve people who are wearing seatbelts. But
the overall fatality rate drops dramatically. COVID
vaccination works the same way.”
19. Not All Dashboards Are Created Equal
• Journal of Medical Internet Research Dashboard Study
• The best use self-design and hand coding
– Explanation-enabled, mobile friendly, multi-lingual support, user access to raw data, race and
ethnic rate breakdowns, links to vaccination-finding tools:
– “If people are looking at it and the cases are going up, and hospitalizations are going up,
hopefully their next step is to go to that right-hand corner and say I want to get vaccinated,
and then find a site near them,”
• Public Health England
• Milwaukee County, Wisconsin
• Particularly Effective:
• Moving clock of numbers v. percentages (1-2 % is a lot but doesn’t seem like it; 52M going to 55M
20. The Headlines
• “Pursuit of Vaccine Devolves Into Hunger Games
for PA Seniors”
• “12 Year Old Helps Hundreds of Seniors Sign Up
to Get COVID-19 Vaccine”
21. Jabs and Boosters: Gotta Keep
• Success Stories
• Western NY State
• Anne Arundel County Public Library
• Toledo Lucas County Public Library
22. More Secrets of Success
• Fort Vancouver Regional Libraries
– PICK UP NOW curbside experience app
• Ann Arbor District Library
– Remote Printing Service
23. Hunger Games: The Hunt for a
• Primary Care Physician (“Primary Care Doctors Are Left Out of the Vaccine Rollout”)
• 1 in 5 administering the vaccine
• 30% stated they are not in touch with their local health department
• State, County, Municipal Health Departments
• Retail Pharmacy and Grocery Stores
• Ancillary Medical Practices
• Niche Facebook Groups
• Elected officials (follow on Twitter)
26. Additional Roles for Libraries
• Being a Jab Site
– (“its intimidating to go to the Javits Center”)
– Bookmobile ride alongs
• Helping constituents acquire mobile
phones/download digital vaccine passports
27. Vaccine Passports
• For many EU countries, the physical CDC card
• In Canada every province has vaccine
passports (print and digital) as well as a
mandate for passports for flights
• States have different systems “The CDC Does
Not Have Vaccine Record Information”
28. Take Care And Be Well,
We Will Get to the Other Side of This, and
We Are In This TOGETHER!
Director of Database Research, Worldwide
Follow me on Twitter: @aainfopro
29. Public Health Hunger Games:
Internet Librarian 2021
26 October 2021
From the Land of the Dish with One Spoon Treaty as well as ceded
and unceded lands from time immemorial. This treaty is sanctified
by a wampum belt at the Royal Ontario Museum.
31. My Brief
• How can libraries of all types handle disruption?
• Innovative ideas and best practices for positioning library
services to be mission-critical in emergencies.
• Explain how our competencies and roles translate to
everyday functions in regular times as well.
32. What did we learn?
• Disasters come in all shapes and sizes.
• This one was different because it was global in
nature and affected every human (and many
• We have an important role to play. Why
– We’re trusted, professional, and maintain
– We have content, digital assets, spaces, etc.
– We have trained and competent staff.
– We have skills to communicate quality information.
33. Can we apply our learning to other
• Fires (buildings and Forest
• Ice and snow storms
• Government overthrows and
• Pestilence (bed bugs and
• Government overthrows and
• Threats to water, medicine,
and food supply (planned
(Tylenol) or accidental
• Threats to the air we breathe
(climate change, gas attacks,
• Financial disasters (fraud,
34. Applying the Lessons from …
• Montreal Ice Storm
• LAPL Fire
• The NE Black-Out
• Hurricanes Katrina and
• Idaho Floods
• Threats from inside the building
• Threats from outside the building
• Threats from ‘gas’ attacks
• Threats from ‘digital’ attacks
• Unknown or ambiguous threats
• If you don’t prepare in advance, your Ethelred
36. Ethelred the Unready
• Ethelred II (c. 968 – April 23
1016) was also known
as Ethelred the Unready. He
was King of England twice.
The first time was from 978 to
1013, and the second time was
1014 to 1016. He was the son
of Edgar, and Aelfthryth. For
most of his reign he had
to fight off Viking invaders.
• The word unready in his name
means "Unread." Which was a
nickname for "Poor Counciled'
or "Bad Adviced." When, as a
young boy, he asked for
opinions he was given poor
advice. it is a pun on his name,
which means "well advised"
39. Dorothy Gale: Now which way do we go?
The Scarecrow: Pardon me, this way is a very nice way.
Dorothy Gale: Who said that? [Toto barks at scarecrow] Don't be silly,
Toto. Scarecrows don't talk.
Dorothy Gale: Who said that? Don't be silly, Toto. Scarecrows don't
The Scarecrow: [points other way] It's pleasant down that way, too.
The Scarecrow: It's pleasant down that way, too.
Dorothy Gale: That's funny. Wasn't he pointing the other way?
The Scarecrow: [points both ways] Of course, some people do go both
The Scarecrow: Of course, some people do go both ways.
41. What did we do?
Here's the short list I've been collecting:
1. NEVER fully closing
2. Reinforcing the digital branch or library
3. Contactless curbside
4. Sources of quality information for online and telephone questions.
5. Town halls for difficult discussions with public health experts
6. Programs (social and educational support)
7. Calling all senior cardholders for wellness checks
8. Staff loaned for contact tracing
9. Serving on the municipal EOT - Emergency Operations Team
10. Serving as vaccination sites (often in joint facilities with community and rec centres)
11. Being a trusted place to go (full PPE and protocols)
12. Doing online appointments to bridge the digital divide
13. Spreading out the PCs and allowing internet access for 1/2 hour appointments that meet protocols and allow for health,
doctor visits, and appointment bookings
14. Parking Lot & Grounds Wi-Fi
15. Bookmobile travelling Wi-Fi stop sites
16. Lending laptops, tablets, and hotspots
17. Using makerspaces to produce PPE or lending staff and 3D printers/linocutters to medical facilities.
18. Serving as a food bank
19. Building inclusion strategies for targeted groups at higher risk or (sometimes) higher vaccine hesitancy (homeless, BIPOC,
Indigenous, etc.) Ensuring your library's visuals represent your community's diversity.
20. Ensuring distribution of multilingual information
21. Promoting broader pandemic content beyond articles, news and books - streaming video, podcasts, etc.
22. Partnering formally for outreach with public health, local hospitals, social and mental health agencies, seniors residences,
food banks, etc. Our cardholder e-mail lists are an asset and we are a trusted source/institution.
23. Ensuring that staff are trained, safe, and open-minded.
24. Upgrading or expanding access to digital content (LinkedIn, Ancestry, oral storytimes, etc.)
25. Digital engagement and maker/hacking kits
26. Free printing or downloading of vaccine passports including training.
42. Preparing for the next one . . .
• Build an informal discussion
• Talk wild and talk freely
• Build a principles list (i.e., there is no single scenario)
• Set up a manual of best ideas and choices to apply
• Answer the question: Back-ups: What are we too
dependent upon (landlines, internet, single contact
point, electricity, building, a supplier, etc.).
• Some things are common to all strategies (i.e., call
trees, digital contacts, back-ups), some things are
customized and special (i.e., PPE, extension cords,
And there will be a next one . . .
43. Lastly . . .
• Review progress – metaphorical stand-up meetings
• What are we learning?
• What do we need to know (facts) and learn (skills)?
• Is something changing permanently? (WFH, office
space utilization, online meetings, digital learning,
• What skills can we add to our competencies lists,
services, and resumes.
• What can we stop? (loose-leaf, some print, etc.)
• How is this affecting our culture?