May 29, 2020
We learned last week, that certain libraries are permitted to operate with restrictions and are encouraged, but not required to use the state’s curbside guidance. Up to that point, there had been no specific guidance for libraries, and based on the information available, it was assumed libraries would be in Phase Four.
On May 15 the Library Board approved a carefully planned Staged Reopening Service Plan. When comparing the Library’s plan to the State guidance on Phase One reopening, we feel that we can begin to bring staff only back into the building to begin the process of receiving the nearly 30,000 items that are currently checked out and then begin contactless pickup.
Before we bring staff back into the building, there are extensive health and safety guidelines that must be followed for the protection of our staff and patrons. The plans must be tailored to meet the specific needs of our industry, and reviewed by the Library Board. Staff need to be trained on the new safety guidelines and new contactless check out procedures.
We are excited about the prospect of being able to provide curbside pickup, but must make sure we have all the safetyprotocols and new processes for lending materials in place before we can start that service – including having enough PPE in stock for several weeks.
At this time, we anticipate beginning to take returned materials the week of June 15 and starting contactless checkout by June 22, barring any new restrictions. As of the writing of this article, there is no guidance from the state as to when we may be able to allow patrons back in the building.
We recognize that it has been a long wait for everyone, but the health and safety of our patrons and staff is of utmost importance. Thank you for your patience and support. We look forward to providing service to you once again, as soon as it is safe.
Alexandra Gutelius, Library Director
New York State Coronavirus Hotline 1-888-364-3065