Little is said about it, but the green pass will also serve in the library. What you need to know

It is a topic that is little talked about, but there will be a green pass requirement for libraries as well. However, the situation is very steamy, and the Italian Library Association tries to provide some clarity.

It’s not just museums and exhibitions: there is little talk about it, but green passes will also be mandatory for access to libraries and archives starting Friday, August 6. In fact, Article 3 of Decree-Law No. 105 of July 23, 2021 (i.e., the one listing the activities subject to the requirement of a health certificate for users) imposes the obligation for “museums, other institutes and places of culture and exhibitions.” According to the Cultural Heritage Code, “other institutes and places of culture” also includes archaeological sites, monuments as well as, precisely, libraries and archives.

The pass, as is known, will be issued to vaccinated, healed and people who prove a negative test within 48 hours. The government regulations immediately created perplexity in the industry: for example, who will have to check the pass? Will it be needed only for attending study halls or also for borrowing books? Will it also be needed for workers? To provide clarity, theItalian Library Association (AIB) issued some recommendations on the application of the health pass last July 30. According to the AIB (which, however, uses the formula “it seems to us”), workers should limit themselves to requesting only the exhibition of the certificate, in digital or paper version, together with a valid user identification document (according to the AIB, even just the library card or any other document that identifies users of the institution is sufficient), without acquiring a copy. In addition, again according to the AIB, operators are not required to verify the authenticity of the pass every time, but only to do spot checks, or in-depth investigations when in doubt.

The AIB also recommends flexibility especially in the first few months, and this is to “extirpate certain special situations and to facilitate access to library services even for those who should not receive the vaccine or have not yet been able to receive it due to objective impediments, for whom the burden of undergoing a swab or molecular test for every access to the library or other services would be unsustainable.” Specifically, when it speaks of “flexibility,” the AIB is referring to the idea that just as in schools there should be a return to face-to-face teaching, so for libraries it is essential that children and adolescents under 12 for whom vaccination is not recommended should continue to see services secured, and the same soft criteria should be applied with those who could not receive the vaccine due to objective impediments. This is the case, for example, with pregnant or lactating women, people with particular medical conditions, and people, especially young people, who are still waiting to receive the vaccine, including many students.

On the other hand, as to one of the most pressing issues (passes for all services, including lending, or only for study rooms), the AIB recalls that distinctions must be made between access with extended stops in library rooms (e.g., for reading activities, consultation, reference, specific programs) and access to basic services such as lending, or delivery of photocopies, perhaps by reservation). Services, the latter, which involve very short stops in dedicated spaces and for which, the AIB explains, “pre-existing protocols worked well at the start of the vaccination campaign.” So, writes the Association, “the activities of mere delivery and return of materials seems to us that they can and should be ensured as they were prior to the Decree-Law, without the need to show the green pass, whether they take place on the premises (this is the common case), or (as some libraries have managed to do) in home mode or by other means.”

On the issue of the green pass for vendors and workers, AIB reserves the right to elaborate further: “although the new decree-law makes no distinction between user access, vendor access and staff access, in the case of vendors the same interpretation as above may apply (need for the green pass for prolonged access, no need for the green pass and application of current security protocols for deliveries of materials), while in the case of staff a more articulated reasoning is needed.”

In short: for now, there is little clarity, and the concern of many, especially many students, is that they will also be excluded from lending if the library interprets the decree too strictly. And certainly this could be a problem not so much for a few facinorous no-vaxers, but more simply for 20-somethings who are waiting for their first dose (and in many regions those who fall into this age group have to wait a long time). For many young people, a tampon is an unaffordable cost, and it will therefore need to be understood whether the green pass does not go some way to undermining the right to study. Indeed, the concern is that culture may not reach everyone. Expressing these doubts is the association Mi Riconosci, which defends the rights of culture workers: “We believe that cultural spaces, as essential public services, have the task of informing and reaching everyone, always,” the association wrote on its Facebook page. “And we don’t believe that further bureaucracy, without explicit coercion, can be the answer to a divided country: the mass protests against museums that proudly claimed the use of the greenpass are confirmation of this. [...] If you can go to the hotel, the beach, the mall, the church, the post office, but not to the museum, or even to pick up a book at the library, something is wrong with this tool. And that something needs to be fixed, quickly. Because social and cultural problems are no less relevant than health problems, and indeed interconnected.”

Little is said about it, but the green pass will also serve in the library. What you need to know
Little is said about it, but the green pass will also serve in the library. What you need to know