Covid-19 Academic Library Closures in US and Canada

Covid-19 Academic Library Closures in US and Canada :: Cal Murgu — Hello Friend

Last update: 04/06/2020

I’ve brought together a few different sources to display the growing number of academic libraries closing in North America as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This map will update regularly (every hour, or so). I’ll try my best to keep on top of new closures. While I'm aggregating data from multiple sources, the most authorative source is Ithaka: to view click here.

Symbol Map Choropleth

Total # of libraries closed:  

Why is this important?

As the New York Times reports, librarians and other library workers are at the same risk level as cashiers and other workers that face daily interactions with guests, customers, or patrons. As universities shut their doors and move to online classes, an unreasonable number of academic libraries continue to keep their doors open. Regrettably, the American Library Association's recent statement fails to make an appropriate case for why libraries should suspend work and close their doors for employee and patron safety. However, more and more libraries are choosing to shut down their in-person services. I hope this project, along with the work being done by others, helps you make a strong case.


I pulled data from several sources, including this Google Sheet on Canadian academic libraries, Twitter, library webpages, and @lisalibrarian and @cwolffeisenberg's ongoing survey, found here: click to view. I populated a Google Sheet with unique library or university names and I geolocated them using a Google Script. Datawrapper automatically pulls from the Google Sheet every minute or so. Additional visualizations added after the initial symbol map to provide additional information.


Feel free to redistribute these visualizations as you see fit with appropriate attribution.

Update 10:12AM - 03/17/2020: Noticing more and more institutions closing in the mid-west. Added approximate date of closure if before March 17. Color coding by closure date.

Update 11:36AM - 03/17/2020: Updated map; added "Why is this important?"; fixed typos.

Update 12:11PM - 03/17/2020: ALA Executive Committee releases statement recommending closing libraries to public.

Update 1:35PM - 03/17/2020: Updated map; added legend; fullscreen.

Update 10:24AM - 03/18/2020: Updated map with approx. 25 new locations. Added "Methodology" section.

Update 1:45PM - 03/18/2020: Updated map with grouped column chart displaying number of closings per day.

Update 5:24PM - 03/18/2020: Included searchable table of data.

Update 10:04AM - 03/20/2020: Updated list; automated pull from Ithaka spreadsheet.

Update 1:45AM - 03/20/2020: Included cloropleth map breaking down closures by US states.

785 Words

2020-03-15 20:00 -0400