Libraries will be allowed to open across Kentucky on June 8, but it will take some extra time for the Wayne County Public Library to prepare for the changes that will be mandated for reopening.
Members of the library board met via videoconference on Wednesday,
May 20 and discussed reopening the facility. Librarian Anne Garner
told board members that she personally did not believe that the Wayne
County Library will be ready to reopen on June 8.
At this point, Garner said they have not received any information
regarding the guidelines for libraries to reopen. After they receive
that information, she expects it will take some time to put a plan in
place for the local library.
“The governor said specific guidelines and building capacity limits
would be forthcoming,” stated Garner. “We don’t know exactly what
reopening will look like yet. We do know that it won’t be ‘business
as usual.’ There will be new rules, new procedures, and service
limitations. Some of these may be temporary, and some may be long term.”
She said that before the library closed it was common for 200 people
to enter the building each day.
“Many people each day touched the same books, computers, newspapers,
tables, chairs and bathroom sinks,” said Garner. “It was common for
50 or more people to sit in close quarters in our meeting room to
experience a program together. Young children would play with toys
and look at books, and then minutes later another child would touch
those same books and toys. In an environment that is designed for
people to browse, linger and share resources, reopening in the midst
of COVID-19 has serious implications.”
Garner said the library staff is eager to welcome patrons back but
they want to make sure and do it safely. She added that this will
mean moving slowly a first.
“We have a lot to figure out in the coming weeks and we will be able
to make better decisions once those additional guidelines are
released,“ she said. “Only when we are able to have the necessary
safeguards in place will we be able to open our door to the public.
This may take longer than one would hope. There are many things to
consider and we want to make sure that we always keep the safety of
the public foremost in our minds.”
She said as she receives more information, she will pass that on to
library board members. Garner said that curbside service is
continuing at the library, and it has become quite popular. People
call ahead to request materials, which staff members collect for
them. The materials are distributed outside the library.
They have also been providing children with craft packages that
include activities and books. Families can stop and pick up the craft
packages and Garner said many children have been participating so far.
She outlined plans for the Summer Reading Program, which will be
operated in a similar fashion.
She said signups are being held this week. Parents can call and
sign up their children for the program. They can arrange to pick up
summer reading bags and books for participants.
“Summer Reading will have a new look this year, but children will
still have a chance to have their names entered for drawings for
prizes by reading books and participating in activities,” said Garner.
At this point, Garner said there is sufficient work at the facility
to keep staff members busy.
In other action, the board:
• Reviewed and approved the amended budget for the fiscal year
• Director Garner to prepare a recommended budget for fiscal year
2020-2021, which will be presented to the board during their June meeting.
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