I’ve long been an advocate of access, but I’ve also advocated for protecting library faculty and staff. I’ve worked in libraries where the entire campus shut down BUT the library was required to stay open. One university president even “offered” to have security pick up library staff from their homes during snow storms and “allow” them to sleep/shower in the dorms if necessary. This does not tell library staff that they’re valuable. It tells them that they’re expendable.
This situation is so very different from snow storms. This is about protecting the health of entire communities. Librarians generally work in spaces where social distancing isn’t practical. And, while I empathize with those who do not have internet access, I think the safety and welfare of the community is of paramount importance.
I also think – later – this situation should lead to discussions about why internet is no longer a luxury but a basic right.