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How do you see libraries re-opening?


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I can see distancing in library, distancing at computers.  But they have a product that is loaned out then returned and then loaned out again. How do you see this practically? How quickly will you borrow books/dvd's from your local library?  Are concerned or no?

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I'm not terribly concerned.   Some people in my thread about waiting it out or buying books mention that their libraries have remained available for contactless pick up only (no browsing in the library).  I think that is a great idea to start with. 

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I think they'll let the material sit for a few days to let any virus die, then recirculate it.  DVDs are easy to clean, but I can't see the staff spending that much time cleaning.   The computers will have to have slot reservation times and records of who is using & be six feet apart.  People will have to stay six feet apart, so directional arrows will be needed. Patrons will have to use their manners.

Group indoor activities will be cancelled. 

I have aged into needing large print, so there is little I borrow from the library physically -- most everything is e-reader.   I won't be returning - I am in a hot spot & am still seeing people with no masks and disregarding distancing in the grocery stores.  When they return to NYC or LI, I'll return to business as usual. That will be when school re-opens.

Edited by HeighHo
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Our libraries are still open  -- you check them out on line, and they're available for curbside pickup.  When books are returned, they sit somewhere for 3 days before they're re-shelved.

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Our library is closed completely for now, not even doing contactless pickup.  If they were, I would let the books sit for a couple of days after picking them up.

Going forward, I envision going to the library, checking out books (either picking up holds or taking things off the shelf), putting them in my library bag, putting the bag in the car, sanitizing my hands before I get in the car, then leaving the bag of books for a couple of days before bringing them out to read.

I don't have little kids anymore, so it will be easy for me. I'm not sure about browsing, as in - picking a book up, reading the blurb and/or a few pages, putting it back... probably if I see something interesting I'll take a photo of it or more likely, just write the name/author down on a piece of paper to refer to later. (I have gotten into the habit of leaving my phone in my pocket when I am out and I've grown to like not handling it all the time. Though it is nice to check out my Goodreads list in the library.)

 

 

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Some libraries are doing curb/bring to your car pick up, but no inter-library loans yet in my state. 

I am assuming they hold books after return before re-shelving. Still, I keep checked out books in my vehicle for a few days. Then I don't worry about it at all. That might be unnecessary, but we have a long enough return frame that waiting a few days to read is not a big deal, and it makes me feel better. 

Edited by sbgrace
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I am not at all worried about checking out something that was just returned. From everything I have read, it seems highly unlikely that covid would be spread that way. Staff could let books/dvds sit if it makes everybody feel better.

I also don't see distancing as a problem. At least not in the libraries I frequent. They are often very empty.

I am concerned about the staff. I suspect that my local librarian is not going to want to return. The staff is at far more risk than the average patron. Distancing could be hard for them. They are often in that several minute close contact situation that seems to carry the most risk. Masks would help, but some people seem to think masking means they can completely ignore distancing.

My libraries are completely closed. I could deal with that long term if they would open up curbside pickup. I am missing the library so much right now!

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Ours are closed so curbside pickup would be great. Even if they do it like the hold system and have limits. I have two cooking books I can’t return and it would be nice to return and get other books even if I have to wait a week or two after someone returns the book I want. 

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I remember our libraries wiping down every book that came in during the SARS outbreak. I don't have any memory of active cases within 500 miles - different from the current situation. I would love a curbside pick up option. That seems like a nice way to cautiously reopen, and presumably staff needs would be much lower. Even if they reopened for a few days a week I would be happy.

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I wish ours would open for curbside pickup at least. They closed 7 weeks ago and we really need new books. I’d be ok with no ILL for a while and limits (right now we have no limits and have 125 books out). But we’re really missing our library. 

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1 hour ago, marbel said:

Our library is closed completely for now, not even doing contactless pickup.  If they were, I would let the books sit for a couple of days after picking them up.

Going forward, I envision going to the library, checking out books (either picking up holds or taking things off the shelf), putting them in my library bag, putting the bag in the car, sanitizing my hands before I get in the car, then leaving the bag of books for a couple of days before bringing them out to read.

I don't have little kids anymore, so it will be easy for me. I'm not sure about browsing, as in - picking a book up, reading the blurb and/or a few pages, putting it back... probably if I see something interesting I'll take a photo of it or more likely, just write the name/author down on a piece of paper to refer to later. (I have gotten into the habit of leaving my phone in my pocket when I am out and I've grown to like not handling it all the time. Though it is nice to check out my Goodreads list in the library.)

 

 

Browsing is hard to imagine, isn't it?  Which is always the funnest part for me when I'm in a library...

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Our library has continued to provide all the downloadable content (music, audiobooks, e-books) throughout all this, and has done a fair bit of virtual programming, some with their own staff or the usual folks in the area who back in the Beforetimes did IRL programming; and also connecting to programming from music / film / theater by other providers.

Our town government is coordinating closely as well as working withing the state-level guidelines. I expect that once we move into the initial states of opening-up, the library will start some version of no-contact ordering books on line/pickup as others have described.

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Our library system is completely closed, except for their online books and resources.  Yesterday they sent out a survey about library use and such.  I think they are trying to figure out how to handle reopening.  I think one problem they will have is with the main branch downtown.  They often have homeless people visit to get out of the hot/cold/rain.  They usually are not a problem, but I would be concerned that the virus could be spreading widely through the homeless population who then bring it to the library. 
We would be happy to at least have a curbside pickup option.  

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Our library is slowly reopening. Books can now be returned. You can schedule a pickup for the holds that have been on the shelf since they closed. Once those are all picked up, they will allow online requests and curbside pickup. Any book requested from another library will be quarantined for 3 days before the staff at the new library can touch it.

When you pick up your books, there will be a note saying the last time they were handled by staff (other than dropping at your car). 

Or at least, that's the word on the street from my librarian. Obviously online content is still available.

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Ours is finally accepting books back!  They've been closed for a long time, not even allowing book drops.  For now they say they will start curbside next week.  Limit of 10 books per card, order online.  

 

This has had me concerned about my school stuff for next year.  I rely on the library for a lot of elementary subjects.  We do have ebooks available,  but they dont tend to be the ones I'm looking for.  I've been looking at textbooks bc they are cheaper than buying all the living books.  I figure if we can get books, great!  If we can't,  the textbook us backup.

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Ours is still closed.
I think it's easy to just let the returned books sit for 3 days, then reshelve.
Ours isn't accepting returns yet, which I find baffling.

I'm on the Book Sale board, and it's likely we'll have to delay/cancel our big Summer Book Sale in mid-June.
I can't see a situation where 300 people (elbow-to-elbow in a church gym) grabbing at books can be healthy?!?
But we depend on the fund-raising . . . and liquidating our storage room.

If anyone is working around the Quarantine issues to have a Book Sale (in the future!), let me know!

Edited by Beth S
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I have active cards at three library systems.

The large multi-branch metro library system shut down completely in mid-March and furloughed it's employees a week or two ago. Their digital resources remain available and are featured on the home page of the website. The note on the website says they will remain completely closed until they have PPE, and then they will begin to reopen with just a few branches with limited access at first (no details provided). Items that have been checked out can't be returned until they reopen.

My local small town independent library stayed open to the public much longer and never closed completely. When they stopped letting the public come in, they continued limited drive through pick-up hours. They also have lockers in the lobby, in which they will place items for customers to pick up, if they call and reserve them. Customers can enter into that lobby area. I have not, so I don't know if they set up extra protections there (hand sanitizer, etc.). No items can be returned yet. The message I received yesterday said their first step is expanding the drive-thru hours, which they are starting now. Following steps were not outlined in the message.

I also occasionally go to the independent library in the next town over. They have been completely closed since mid-March. The website says that they predict their first step will be to offer some drive-thru services, but not yet and no date set for that to start. They are not accepting returns.

I'll put my personal feelings in the next post.

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In our county plan, libraries can reopen at 25% capacity, social distancing, masks required for employees and recommended for patrons, no group classes or events starting in phase 1, which is supposed to begin May 4. I'm guessing the focus is dropping off/picking up books. It gradually moves up to 75% Max capacity (which usually isn't an issue except for special events, so I'm guessing that there won't be the big summer reading program parties, but otherwise, it would be fairly normal). 

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I'm not eager to go back into the library building. I thought my local library should have closed it's doors sooner than it did. I know they want to serve the public needs, but I don't think they showed enough care about public health, and that makes me more hesitant to return very soon. I will probably choose to go to the metro system for a bit when things first open up, since they have been more careful.

Back in March, when I predicted that the library would be closing, I checked out two huge bags of books and a bag of DVDs. I left those bags in my garage for several days before bringing them in the house. I still have plenty of things to read from those bags, so I'm set for awhile.

I anticipate that I will continue for a long time with quarantining library books after I start checking out new ones again. I do order books to be held for me, but I tend to like to browse in person, typically. I think I will probably do my browsing online instead and reserve items for pick up, so that I can spend as little time in the building as I can. I usually don't use the drive up window, but I will probably start doing that, whenever I can, instead of going in at all.

I'm not sure when I will feel comfortable frequenting the library building again.

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2 hours ago, Beth S said:

Ours is still closed.
I think it's easy to just let the returned books sit for 3 days, then reshelve.
Ours isn't accepting returns yet, which I find baffling.

I'm on the Book Sale board, and it's likely we'll have to delay/cancel our big Summer Book Sale in mid-June.
I can't see a situation where 300 people (elbow-to-elbow in a church gym) grabbing at books can be healthy?!?
But we depend on the fund-raising . . . and liquidating our storage room.

If anyone is working around the Quarantine issues to have a Book Sale (in the future!), let me know!

Eta: if not a hard hit area and not against protocols:

For set up there could be shifts set up for people from the same household working together for a set time then they leave then another household comes in to unpack different boxes and not touching what others touched.  

There could be less tables that are spread apart.  (Might not sell as much as normal but maybe could split the sale in two parts)

Be set up a week prior to the sale and advertise that.  Allow a fixed number in the sale at once then one out/one in and have a marked line outside or better yet devise a stay in your car line with marked parking spots.

Price items the same so no need to touch purchases.  Customers can box their own.

I miss organizing events!  This weekend would have been a silent auction I organize.  

Eta: my area is nowhere near considering summer events 😞

Edited by happi duck
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Ours were open for curbside for awhile I imagine that's how they will start back as we move up the stages.  Then probably at some limited capacity without programs.  

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I wonder if libraries could start using those uv light sterilizers? Ours already heat treats for bedbugs. I could see them easing in with hold pickups only. I doubt story time or many of the community activities will continue, as those do draw large groups. And the community use rooms would probably have even stricter limits on how many people could be in them. The poor librarians will probably spend large chunks of time wiping down tables and computers. I would have no problem reserving/picking up books. We could always leave them sitting in the garage like we do packages right now. 

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Ours announced today that starting Monday they'll be doing curbside checkouts. I squealed out loud when I read the news. 😄 I didn't see anything about a waiting period when books are returned. I am not concerned by that, but I know others might be. 

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Around here our libraries are heavily patronized by the homeless, people wanting a way to get on the internet, kids hanging out, families watching their kids, etc. I'm not sure what their plan is for our library system, but definitely the social nature of the usage will affect what aspects they reopen when.

Nuts, even the malls reopening will be like that, with people going to hang out.

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Literally the first week of this, I was like, clearly contactless pickup is the way to go. It seems like such a no brainer.  And very low risk. If you just leave the books sitting for a couple of days, it's fine by nearly all measures. I'm glad to hear some libraries are already doing that. More should.

I think getting patrons books is actually pretty simple. And having librarians available to help is also pretty simple. You could potentially have people make appointments to browse or pick up books, limit time in the library, etc. The programming has moved online, as have help desks. The bigger issue, in my mind, is that libraries serve a key function in communities getting computer access to people who don't have it. How does that super important function expand? Libraries also do a lot of homeless outreach in most urban areas. Ours has a social worker for the homeless population. I don't know what spaces are replacing libraries for homeless people.

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8 hours ago, J-rap said:

Browsing is hard to imagine, isn't it?  Which is always the funnest part for me when I'm in a library...

I am sure at some point I'll go back to browsing.  I'll be more conscious of handwashing, etc. But I don't anticipate never being able to browse again!

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9 hours ago, hopeallgoeswell said:

Every page of every book (!) or just the covers?

🙂 Just the plastic covers. This would fit with my understanding of COVID also (longer-lived on plastic). However, the cleaner they were using was horrible and left the books feeling sticky until they got wiped again with something else later. Ick. Overall fail, I felt, but with points for effort.

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My 17yo daughter works as a page at the library.  Our libraries in Michigan have been closed completely since mid-March.  Once the stay at home is lifted (if it ever is lifted) the library is planning on only opening at first for pickup.  Not sure how it will work, but that’s the plan.  I am ready.  We checked out a bunch the day my daughter got the notification they were closing in an hour and the books and videos are still sitting here.  The book drops are full and nothing can be returned at this point.  I think we will go when reopened.

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