City of Seward COVID-19 News and Information

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Special Library Museum Director's Report 5/8/20

Post Date:05/08/2020 9:57 PM

Seward Community Library & Museum

Special Director’s Report

May 8, 2020


Alaska State Health Mandate 002 effective 3/17/20 states all libraries, archives and museums shall be closed to the public until rescinded due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  This mandate has been superseded by Alaska State Health Mandate 016: Reopen Alaska Responsibly Plan Phase 2 for Libraries, museums and archives effective 5/8/2020 and includes Attachment O – Libraries, Museums, and Archives

It is still a local decision when and how to we reopen.  The Seward Community Library & Museum chooses to reopen responsibly with the safety of our staff, patrons, visitors and community as our top priority.

Specific guidance for libraries, museums and archives in Phase 2 include limited operations, 25% max capacity, universal face coverings, 6 ft. minimum social distancing, a COVID-19 Mitigation Plan addressing practices and protocols to protect staff and the public, and other logistical requirements. 

We are updating our phased reopening plan and reworking our spaces to incorporate requirements and recommendations from the State, the CDC and other public health authorities.  We will ease into reopening, starting with non-contact services, as soon as we can establish practices and protocols, and secure what we need to protect both staff and the public.  

We have set a tentative date to begin non-contact services on 5/19/20, depending on staff capacity and availability of supplies.  We will begin sooner if we can safely do so.

Re-opening Goals

  • „Maintain a healthy and safe community by slowing the spread of COVID19 among staff, patrons and visitors.
  • „Maintain a safe and healthy work environment for staff.
  • „Continue operations and provide services and programs to meet our mission safely and to the best of our ability.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), a federal agency, joined a research partnership to develop science based data to inform the safe handling of collections and reopening practices for libraries and museums.

Libraries and museums across Alaska and the nation continue to make difficult decisions without reliable data for how to safely modify or provide regular services and reopen.  No one wants to contribute to the spread of COVID-19.  No one wants to use precious PPE and disinfecting supplies that healthcare providers and emergency responders may need.  We care too much about our communities and those we serve.

We understand this is a hard time for everyone; we too miss our patrons, welcoming our visitors and serving our community.  We appreciate your patience as we work out how to provide the safest and best service possible.

The time we’ve been closed has been quite busy and productive.  I am extremely proud of my team for stepping up and taking on unique challenges brought about by this unprecedented event during a time that is also personally stressful and while we are short-staffed!  Here are a few highlights:

  • „Established an accountable and productive work at home plan and routine
  • „Assist with the City of Seward COVID-19 webpage management
  • „Ongoing exhibit and window display research and development
  • „Disaster planning which started before COVID-19, is ongoing and informed by our experience
  • „Library database cleanup of thousands of records that will improve both staff and patron experience
  • „Ongoing processing and cataloging of library materials, including original cataloging
  • „Plan and produce delightful virtual Story Time programming and a new video channel on Vimeo
  • „Develop an engaging Virtual Seward Summer Reading Challenge program for all ages
  • „New partnership with the Seward Boys & Girls Club to provide take home craft kits and used books
  • „Ongoing development of digital resources, such as the Alaska Digital Library and Niche Academy
  • „Training to improve reference, collection management, programs, services and reopening plans
  • „Rearrange our spaces for social distancing and reduce what needs to be handled and disinfected.Brace yourself, it’s pretty bare in here, but we can now safely disinfect our work and public facing areas.Thank you to our janitors for their help moving furniture!
  • „Developing a phased reopening plan and procedures throughout our closure
  • „Support and advocate for other libraries in the state to reopen successfully
  • „Established temporary public access computer stations in the Community Room (coming soon!)

We still have a lot of work to do to reopen both the museum and the library responsibly and safely, but we are making progress.  Phase 2 requires additional measures that we will be working on in the next week.  Updates for expanding services will be announced in press releases.

I thank City Manager Scott Mezaros for his leadership and support during this challenging time and the hard decisions that had to be made along the way.  It means a lot to me and my team to have a stable and supportive leader and role model. 

We will continue to be available by email and phone, Tues-Sat, 10am-6pm at 907-224-4082 and  I will personally be available by phone and email on Mondays, 10am-6pm.  Please leave a message as we may have stepped away to work in the stacks or on our noncontact service plans and procedures.



Valarie Kingsland, MLIS

Museum & Library Director


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City of Seward COVID-19 Response

A Community Message from Seward City Manager Scott Meszaros

The City of Seward is adopting the phase-in plan for reopening the State of Alaska and its individual communities.  Beginning April 24, 2020, the State of Alaska begins phase 1-A of its “Reopen Alaska Responsibly Plan.”  The terms of this plan and its impact on Seward businesses can be found in State of Alaska Public Health Mandate 16, which is posted on the City website at [see below].

As many Seward businesses move towards opened doors this weekend, please remember that our community remains vulnerable to COVID-19 and we must all continue to do our part to reduce the risk of infection among Seward’s residents and its visitors. 

In preparation for the City’s own reopening of public facilities and City offices, the City extended public facility closures until May 3, 2020. The City administration and staff will be working diligently to develop a responsible reopening plan for City offices before May 3rd. The purpose of such a plan will be to ensure the public health and safety when entering City-owned and operated facilities, as well as to protect City employees from COVID-19 exposure. 

While the City of Seward remains optimistic about the State of Alaska’s “Reopen Alaska Responsibly Plan,” we will continue to diligently monitor the progression of COVID-19 within Seward and the social distancing and other measures necessary to combat it.  I would also like to express my sincere gratitude on behalf of the City to all the businesses who have submitted mutual aid agreements and/or posted business protocols and measures on their entrances.  Your collaboration and excellent corporate citizenship are essential during these difficult times. 

Thank you for keeping our residents and visitors safe.

Scott W. Meszaros, CM, CMC

Seward City Manager


City Public Information Line

Call 907-224-4015 for more information or to ask questions.  Messages will be responded to.


City of Seward COVID-19 Emergency Documents



All State COVID-19 Health Mandates issues by the Governor can be found at:


Click on the bars below to drop down more information about each topic.

Seward Harbor and Travel Related STATE Health Mandates
STATE Health Mandate 017 – Independent Commercial Fishing Vessels
STATE Health Mandate 016 – Charter Fishing Vessels
Concerned You Have COVID-19?
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