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Mask policies: Resource roundup

While mask-wearing policies continue to vary regionally in the United States, libraries, archives, and museums (LAMs) are navigating how to message, enact, and enforce them. This roundup features articles on topics ranging from legal implications to staff training to disability considerations and includes examples of current LAM (and general customer service-oriented) mask policies.

For help understanding local mask regulations and policies, contact local health authorities and legal resources.

Note: These examples may have changed since being reviewed. Last accessed April 20, 2021.

Jump to mask policy examples: Museums | Libraries

Should my museum require staff and visitors to wear face masks when we reopen?” from American Alliance of Museums (AAM): Considerations and guidance in determining policies around the wearing of face masks (including signage examples) and links to employment training guidelines.

Are There Exceptions to Face-Mask Requirements?” from American Libraries Magazine: A lawyer-librarian fields legal questions about the COVID-19 pandemic, including exceptions to face-mask requirements.

Library steps up efforts to enforce mask policy,” from The Technique: The Institute’s school library staff described how they are reinforcing their new mask wearing policy with students.

Library Staff Guidance on Use of Masks,” from The Library of Congress: Addresses questions about what kind of masks people should wear and why.

Safety First: Museum Visitors Expect Better Mask Enforcement,” from Know Your Own Bone: Interviews with museum visitors reveal that not enforcing mask policies is a major source of visitor dissatisfaction.

The ADA and Face Mask Policies,” from the Southeast ADA Center and Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University: Addresses disability considerations for face mask policies.

Examples of museum mask policies

Note: As with all policies, these examples may have changed since being reviewed. Last accessed April 16, 2021.

  • Mütter Museum: "Please plan ahead. By purchasing a ticket for you and your guest(s), you are agreeing to adhere to the following policies..."
  • Carnegie Museum of Art: "If you are unable to wear a face mask or a face shield, we invite you to explore our virtual offerings..."
  • The Guggenheim: "The following masks are not permitted due to the increased risk of COVID-19 transmission these coverings pose: any face mask that is not three-ply, bandanas, neck gaiters, and face masks with exhalation valves or vents. See CDC guidelines on how to wear a face mask."
  • Museum of Science, Boston: "If you need to replace your mask while on-site, complimentary disposable masks are available at the Information Desk..."
  • Smithsonian Institution: "Face shields are not permitted as a substitute for a face covering but may be worn over a face covering or mask..."


Examples of library mask policies

Note: As with all policies, these examples may have changed since being reviewed. Last accessed April 16, 2021.

  • Pleasant Hill Public Library: "Staff members are not required to wear masks if they are in an area of the library where patrons are not otherwise allowed..." 
  • Sugar Grove Public Library: "Reasonable accommodations such as Curbside Services, drive through pickup windows and online resources are available to those who are medically prevented from or decline to wear a face covering..."
  • Ohio Library Council: "If a library plans to provide employees or patrons with face coverings, then it must make sure that those face coverings comply with FDA labeling requirements..."
  • Bucks County Free Library: "BCFL has a face mask policy to address your medical and personal freedom concerns while also protecting the employees and other library users of BCFL..."
  • Petoskey District Library: "Disposable face masks will be provided for those that do not have their own..."