Restoring library services safely

13 May 2020 | 11:51

    Monroe Free Library is eager to serve our community once more.

    The decision to re-open, however, is out of our hands. Like many businesses in New York State and, indeed, around the country, we are at the mercy of our politicians and (much more importantly) the science of infectious disease.

    The safety of our visitors and staff is our foremost concern. Restoring library services without harming public health will require a deliberate, evidence-based plan.

    To that end, we’ve convened a Crisis Response Team to create such a plan. This team is responsible for analyzing conventional library operations and determining how they will need to be adjusted in order to ensure safety.

    This challenge is uniquely difficult for a library. Covid-19 has turned our greatest strengths into challenges.

    All of our planning is centered on how to provide the best service in the safest way. These are the tough problems that our Crisis Response Team will have to answer, and I am confident that we’ll find solutions.

    Library services will look a little different when we re-open. In the early days, we may only allow curbside pickup of materials. Interlibrary lending will be suspended to prevent cross-contamination.

    When it’s safe to have people in the building again, we will require masks and we may restrict the total number of patrons allowed inside at once.

    Our programming, including children’s sign-language, crafting programs, and music discussions may be transitioned to virtual events.

    These are preliminary strategies, and they are subject to change based on the constantly shifting landscape.

    Like many people in Orange County, our staff are looking forward to returning to work. Just like you, they miss our story-times, our music programs, our book discussions and the dozens of small, friendly, personal interactions that happened every day at Monroe Free Library. I am eager as well.

    Study after study shows that a community suffers without its library, and the services we provide will be more important than ever in a post-pandemic world. We’re working on our plan — we’re thinking of you — and when we get the word that it’s safe to re-open, we’ll be there to welcome you back.

    Until then, stay well.

    Marilyn McIntosh

    Executive Director

    Monroe Free Library