The Fight Against Enzy: US Libraries During the Influenza Epidemic of 1918

Lorri Mon


In 2020, a pandemic of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus struck worldwide, rapidly becoming the most devastating since the 1918 global influenza pandemic. As librarians confronted entirely new challenges in how to safely manage libraries during the COVID-19 crisis, a common question was, “what happened in libraries during the 1918 influenza pandemic?” This article explores that question through the lens of government documents and news articles of the 1918-1921 time period, seeking to understand what happened then in libraries nationwide, and what we might learn from it today.

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