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The original item was published from 8/18/2020 4:16:55 PM to 8/30/2020 12:00:00 AM.

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News & Town Board Reports (gblist)

Posted on: August 18, 2020

[ARCHIVED] 5th grader organizes Little Free Library in Edgemont...update Greenburgh Library opening plans

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


 Anya Pathak is  a rising 5th grader at the Greenville Elementary School in Scarsdale, NY. This summer has been unusual due to the COVID-19 pandemic and either all public libraries are closed for patrons or open mostly for curbside pickup with fixed timings. Such an arrangement, while helpful, does not suit the schedules for many families, including mine! As an avid reader myself, I realize how important it is for kids of my age to have unlimited access to the world of books across different genres and categories. This is especially important during the pandemic when most of us have limited in-person social interactions, and where books can truly be our “best friend”. To this end, coinciding with Anya’s 10th birthday in August, she launched Edgemont Free Library in her neighborhood - an initiative that allows her to share her books with everyone in the community and also encourage others to do the same. Best of all, the library is open 24x7 and it is free! The inspiration to start this initiative came from President Barack Obama. In 2016, he wrote a letter to me in which he said: "Volunteer in your community so that you will be prepared to help lead our nation to a better tomorrow". Setting up the Edgemont Free Library is my way of “giving back” to the community that I live, thrive, and love dearly. As the first step in implementing this idea, She reached out to the Greenburgh Town Supervisor, Mr. Paul Feiner, to seek approval and permits needed to install the library. Mr. Feiner then connected me to the Town Planning Commissioner (Mr. Garrett Duquesne), Town Building Inspector (Mr. Steven Fraietta), and Town Attorney (Mr. Timothy Lewis). With their permission and advice on installation, her dad and her 3-year old brother helped her in installing the library in our front yard. To increase awareness, she created and distributed flyers in our neighborhood and also created a website that provides information about the library location and an up-to-date catalog. I am hopeful that her initiative will inspire kids of all ages to participate in community sharing of “books and knowledge”. Please feel free to email me with questions, comments, and suggestions for improvement. THANK YOU Anya Pathak Founder, Edgemont Free Library (http://www.edgemontfreelibrary.org/) 5th Grader, Greenville Elementary School   Check out her website with address of the free library. 



 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

John Sexton
Library Director
Greenburgh Public Library

914-721-8220

Paul Feiner 

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