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A 5th grader is providing the community with a great public service- a Little Free Library. And, an update from the head of the Library: plans to re-open Greenburgh Library
ANOTHER LITTLE FREE LIBRARY ORGANIZED BY A 5th GRADER IN EDGEMONT
and an update on Greenburgh Library opening plans
GREENBURGH LIBRARY UPDATE
While most Westchester libraries are providing some version of contact-less pickup service, a handful have opened their doors for limited access to browse sections of the library’s collection. No two libraries are taking the same approach to limited re-opening as each library building has constraints that determine how best to maintain social distancing protocols and a safe environment for staff and library patrons. For example, there are limits on the number of patrons that can enter (from 10 to 25 in most libraries) and how long they can stay (30 minute maximum). Chairs and tables have been removed and most of the library remains closed to the public. Currently, no libraries are offering in-building programs or large gatherings.
At Greenburgh, we are taking a cautious approach to re-opening because our priority remains doing everything we can to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. We feel that providing responsive curbside pickup service, online reference chat, and maintaining robust and diverse online library programs gives our community opportunities to discover, learn and grow without the risk of spreading or contracting the virus. For most patrons, using the library is a tactile experience. Each visitor to the library (we average about 800 visits per day) touches books and DVDs, chairs, desktops, door handles, banisters, touch screens, keyboards, library cards, etc. We have yet to find a way to sanitize all these touchable surfaces so completely that we would feel confident welcoming the public back into the building.
GPL will reopen in stages following the example of other libraries whose practices have kept patrons and staff safe. As New York progresses toward fewer cases and we reach a point where the risk of infection is minimal, additional in-person services will resume. The staff looks forward to once again welcoming our community into the library because we miss you! Until then, stay safe and healthy.
I will be proposing to the library board at their next meeting on August 25, that we re-open the building on a limited basis beginning on September 8, so long as the rate of infection remains near or under 1% of those tested (currently Westchester is .8%). Like other libraries we will have limits on time, number of patrons in the building, and locations available. Like other libraries we will have no seating, study tables available at first.
One of the reasons we have not opened sooner is that regardless of all the precautions taken by libraries that are reopening, infection still occurs. Purchase Library is an example – they had their first infection last week and closed today after being open for just two weeks. Libraries are different than restaurants in that in restaurants diners are isolated at their tables and not touching common objects shared with others like books and keyboards and check out machines as they would in a library.
Also, GPL staff has done a great deal of work to ensure that almost all library service can be delivered online – from programs to reference chat to reading advisory. By opening our doors we are adding the ability to browse the shelves, which, like so many library users, is my favorite thing to do in a library. I look forward to the time when we can again have the entire building and all of our collections available to safely browse for all.
Please give me a call or email if you have any questions or suggestions and also know that anyone who cannot make curbside pickup during the week days or Tuesday evening or Saturday is welcome to call 721-8204 and arrange for a pickup time that will work for them.
John SextonLibrary DirectorGreenburgh Public Library