Stacey Lunsford, Director of the Irvin L. Young Library, provided the Banner with the following additional information related to the reopening of the library.
After the Irvin L. Young Memorial Library closed to the public on March 16th, library staff began a series of online classes and training webinars. Many library continuing education sources provided training in customer service and how to navigate a rapidly changing all-digital service environment as well as information on the virus and how long it lives on a paper-based collection of materials.
When Governor Evers loosened the restrictions on services to allow curbside pickup, we created a contactless plan to maintain the highest level of safety we could for both staff and patrons. Materials are quarantined for 72 hours after they have been returned to the library. Staff wear masks and gloves at all times while handling materials. Surfaces are disinfected at the beginning of every shift. Since we started providing curbside pickup, we have served 531 patrons as of May 22.
As we move into adding a few in-person services on June 1, this is what patrons can expect. We will not be open to the public in the mornings. This is so staff can check in items, re-shelve them, and pull items for the hold list, all of which require them to move around the building and makes it difficult to serve patrons and maintain physical distancing. We will provide curbside pickup in the mornings. The library staff will be having a team meeting and training to prepare for providing additional in-person services so we will not be scheduling any curbside pickup on Friday morning, May 29. This service will be moved to the north side of the building along Center Street. Signs will be up to help people navigate the changes.
We will need to limit the number of people in the building at any one time. We will have a staff member at the door in the lobby keeping track of how many people have come in and gone out. Visitors will need to enter from the south side parking lot doors and exit through the north side Center Street doors to help maintain physical distancing. The Friends of the Library Book Shop will not be open and we will not be accepting requests to reserve the Community Room.
We will offer curbside pickup in the afternoons and evenings on weekdays but patrons may also come in to pick up holds and browse the shelves for items for checkout. We encourage people to use our online catalog at www.cafelibraries.org to place holds whenever possible to limit the time they are in the building.
People who need to use our computers may do so by appointment starting June 1. We will have removed all seating except for one chair at a table and the tables will be moved much farther apart. We have space for six people at a time to use a computer. We will be scheduling one-hour appointments for computer use. Each patron may have one appointment per day. Computers, tables, and chairs will be wiped down after every use.
We will not be allowing people to remain in the library to study or read. We know that many people enjoy reading the newspaper but the limitations on the number of people in the library at one time make this a non-essential service at this time.
One of the most difficult things about this situation is that many in our community are experiencing and will continue to experience economic hardship. We want people to be able to use the library for whatever their needs may be. To help people do this, the library board voted unanimously at their meeting on May 18 to eliminate overdue fines on all materials at our library. Old overdue fines are being gradually purged from our system.
Items that are not returned at all however or are damaged beyond usability will still be charged to the patron.
Additionally, this won’t apply to fines that were charged at another library. For example, if a patron uses both the Whitewater library and the Fort library, overdue fines charged at Fort will remain on the account.
The library open hours beginning June 1 will be Monday – Thursday 1:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Friday 1:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. and Saturday 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Updates about the library can be found on our Facebook page and on our website at www.whitewaterlibrary.org.