In a blog post I wrote for the Library on March 16, I said, “I believe the decision to close the Library was the hardest one I have made in my 32+ year career.” I was wrong. The hardest decision is when and how to reopen the Library safely.
The primary consideration in this plan is maintaining the safety of Library staff and customers, while finding ways to provide core essential services. Like the state, the Library has a four phase plan we will need to enact to return to a normal function. In Phase 1, which begins May 11, staff will be trained on proper cleaning and social distancing techniques, we will remove half the furniture from all our buildings, move computers so they are not close together, and install Plexiglas shields at all service desks. We will begin accepting returned materials from the community on May 12. These items will have to be quarantined for 3 days before we put them back on our shelves.
In Phase 2, we will turn on the ability for customers to place holds through our catalog. When you receive notification that the item(s) are available you will be able to use our new touchless Curbside Pickup service. Materials will be available for pick up at the Main, Scheben, and Hebron locations Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and at the Florence, Walton and Chapin locations on Tuesday and Thursday between 11 am to 7 pm,. All locations, except Chapin, will offer curbside pickup on Saturday between 1 pm and 5 pm. Information will be on our website about touch-less Curbside Pickup when we have all the details worked out. We expect curbside pickup to begin
The Library will reopen with person-to-person service in Phase 3 when our plan is approved by the state. We will need to limit the number of people in our buildings and we will operate on reduced hours with designated hours for people considered high risk. During this phase, I highly encourage you to download the Library app, so that you can check out your own materials. Study Rooms will be open, but we will limit the number of people in each room.
Phase 4 will see us return to mostly normal operations and hours. Programming will resume, but all programs will require registration if social distancing is still required. We will also open access to our meeting rooms, again with lower occupancy rates.
If we have the necessary non-medical PPE for staff, we will start Phase 1 on May 11 and Phase 2 on May 18. Each phase will last as long as deemed necessary for the safety of staff and customers. If at any time it is deemed necessary, BCPL can drop back one or more phases. Please watch our website and social media for information as we move through each phase.
I want to thank the community for your patience while we work through reopening.
Be safe and be healthy.
–Carrie Herrmann, Library director