Introduction

The Covid-19 Pandemic has forced the Library to close its physical locations and to focus on remote and digital services. This plan will outline possible phases to allow for Library staff to return to the building and for the Library to begin to resume in-person services in a way that reflects the importance that the Library places on the health and safety of staff and the public.

The phases are designed to sequentially restore services so that staff, and the public, are allowed the opportunity to learn and adapt to the new circumstances dictated by the Covid-19 Pandemic. The timing of each phase, which will be driven by current guidelines and laws at Local, State and Federal level, will be determined by the Library Board of Trustees.

In recognition of the evolving nature of the Pandemic, and the desirability of working with the latest information, it is envisioned that the transition to each new phase will include the development of a detailed plan for that phase by Library staff. This plan will be presented to the Trustees who will be asked to review and approve it. This approach will help to ensure that the actions of the Library are consistent with current knowledge, guidelines and best practices.

Finally, it needs to be recognized that changes in the external environment might necessitate the reversion to a prior phase.

Phase 1

Overview

Library buildings are closed: access to the building is limited to the Director, and consultants and contractors necessary to maintain the building.

Key Details:

• All staff work remotely from home

•Services offered include

• Reference services provided by phone and email

• Communicating with the community via Library’s homepage, e-newsletter and social media

• Virtual programming and

• A range of digital materials for patrons to borrow (including books, audiobooks, magazines, film and TV)

 

Phase 2

Overview

Staff return to the main building to prepare for the introduction of in-person services. Book and DVD ordering and processing resumes and the materials return is reopened.

Key details:

In order for this phase to begin the following will need to be in place:

• A protocol for cleaning the building

• The availability of necessary hygiene supplies for custodians and staff (e.g. cleaning products, hand sanitizers)

• The availability of, and training in, PPE for staff

• Guidelines for, and training in, social distancing for staff

• A new schedule for staff rotation to allow for social distancing

• Guidelines for handling of materials by staff • Guidelines for handling returned material

 

Phase 3

Overview

Contactless services to the public are introduced (possibly curbside pickup). Preparations for allowing the public into the building begin.

Key Details:

• In addition to the requirements noted previously, a detailed plan for any services offered will need to be created: at a minimum this plan will specify

• The nature of the service

• The location of the service

• Procedures to ensure social distancing is maintained by staff and public

 

Phase 4

Overview:

The public are allowed to re-enter the building. The initial services will be limited to browsing and borrowing of materials and the furniture and fixtures in the building will need to reflect this.

Key details:

In addition to the requirements noted previously, a plan for this phase will include • Steps to be taken to ensure separation between staff and public (screens, visual guides etc.)

• A system to ensure a limited number of patrons in the building at any one time (for social distancing)

• Signage to encourage social distancing by the public

• Guidelines for handling of materials by the public

• A new code of conduct for the public (addressing social distancing, PPE required etc.)

• Layout of materials to make social distancing possible

• Areas of the building that will be accessible to the public

• Removal of furniture and fixtures necessary to ensure success

• At this stage the feasibility of reopening the Branch Library can explored

 

Phase 5

Overview:

This phase will see the growth of services to the public, as circumstances allow. Gradually there will be a return to the Library as it was before the pandemic: for example, the reintroduction of lounge furniture, the opening up of study carrels, the availability of public PCs and the gradual resumption of programming.

Key Details

• The timing of this will be dependent upon the guidance of local and state authorities

• This will most likely be a long-term project that will move in a series of gradual steps


Bibliography

RCLS: Staged Reopening Plan for Member Libraries (May 12, 2020)

White Plains Public Library Pandemic, Epidemic, Public Health Concern and/or Public Infection Concern Response Plan

Piedmont, Ok Library: Phases of Reopening

Montana State Library: 3 Sample Reopening Plans

Indiana Library Foundation: Covid 19 Global Pandemic

Oak Park Public Library: Covid-19 Library Building Reopening: Phased Reopening

CSEA: Guidance on Return to Work 

By The Cover: Covid-19 Return to Work Best Practices (Regan Insurance Agency: May 2020)

Gwinnett County Public Library Phased Reopening Plan

WLS: Phased Reopening Overview

Ossining Public Library: Pandemic Policy and Plan

Chappaqua Public Library: Reopening Plan

 

Approved by the Library Board of Trustees: Thursday, May 21, 2020