Leadership during COVID-19: Pivoting from Reactive Survival to Proactive Planning for the Future


Brainstorming COVID Puzzle Pieces

The pandemic flipped the world upside down, forcing libraries to close doors, stop lending, and halt programs and services. Public libraries have since been in survival mode, quickly adapting with health protocols, virtual programs, and curbside services. As libraries prepare for the ”next normal” of life after shutdowns, library leaders can make the most of this rare moment by pivoting from a reactive state to a proactive one that is built upon a foundation of clear strategy and intention.

In this on-demand webinar, learn to rethink organizational structure, priorities, and workflow to overcome traditional and systemic challenges and create more nimble teams. Using the ”five C’s” of crisis leadership—candor, compassion, courage, commitment, and communication—libraries can build trust and establish relationships needed to confidently motivate their teams forward, maintaining positive adaptations from the pandemic while reimagining past practices and redefining purpose and priorities to emerge even stronger and more relevant to their communities.

Originally presented May 11, 2021.

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this on-demand webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Identify and apply the “five C’s” of crisis leadership to their unique situations and organizations;
  • Apply leadership ideas to build trust and establish relationships with staff and the community; and
  • Identify the importance of shared purpose and collective action in motivating and unifying teams.

Who Should Attend

The on-demand webinar is relevant to public library directors, administrators, and managers leading teams during these uncertain times. However, the topic will also appeal to other public library staff and encourage all to lead from any level within their organizations.


Krista RiggsKrista Riggs is library director of Madera County (CA) Library. She hails from the neighboring Fresno County in California’s diverse Central Valley, where she served as children’s librarian for ten years before supervising the programming, marketing, and eservices departments. Krista is proud to be one of seven librarians on the ”Library Ambassadors” team for the Harwood Institute of Public Innovation, believing strongly in the importance of community conversations to gain public knowledge and guide decisions. She actively serves on committees for the California Library Association and the Core and Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) divisions of the American Library Association. Krista especially enjoys being co-chair of ALSC’s Managing Children’s Services Committee this year and writing the “Best Practices” column for PLA’s journal, Public Libraries.


Connie UrquhartConnie Urquhart is a small-town public library director focused on working with individuals, groups, and elected officials to bring her community of Camas, WA together. A trained facilitator, Connie enjoys helping people navigate through tough conversations. She is the author of several articles and the co-author of Risky Business: Taking and Managing Risks in Library Services for Teens.


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This on-demand webinar is closed captioned in English (United States).

If you have a physical or communication need that may affect your access to this on-demand webinar, please contact us at plawebinars@ala.org or 800-545-2433 ext. 5PLA (5752) prior to registering so we can attempt to provide appropriate accommodations.

Tech Requirements

To play this on-demand webinar you should use a browser with native HTML5 support. Please use the most up-to-date version available of Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, or Edge. A fast Internet connection and computer is recommended.


This webinar is presented by the Public Library Association (PLA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA).

If you have questions or problems accessing a recording, send a message to plawebinars@ala.org or call 800-545-2433 ext. 5PLA (5752).

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