While We Are Closed . . . .

So, what are we librarians doing here at the library while we are closed? I think many folk have wondered about that. Let me tell you!

We are still ordering books and other materials; these need to be cataloged, processed with labeling and protective covers, and shelved. As we will probably open with some social distancing rules in place, we may need to reconfigure the furniture in some areas. Bills and staff must be paid. Staff work hours are still scheduled to make sure we have fewer than the state-allowed number of people in the building at any given time, but enough staff to be safe.

Some of our tasks have changed a bit to keep our materials safe: items deposited in the book drop are set apart to air out and make sure all viruses are gone before we check them in. Hard surfaces are sanitized. Soft ones are washed. We answer phone calls and e-mails to help our patrons utilize our on-line services. Tasks that we seldom get to when we are busy assisting patrons are tackled: cleaning, inventory, looking for "lost" or misplaced items, organizing closets and storage areas. Some on the staff have sewn face masks for us.

Since we can't hold programs, speakers and performers were contacted about canceling or rescheduling. Marketing on our website and social media needed changing to reflect this. We must get new and often changing information out to our patrons in as many ways as we can. We are still planning ahead in regard to programming, but with the uncertainty of when we can actually book speakers. Our Art Wall Gallery and display cases are on hold as we wait to see when we can open and what seasonal or topical displays we can set up.

We are preparing for our Summer Library Reading Programs. We have to consider whether to offer everything on-line or have something more traditional, or do both! So some of us are working on a multiple approach - twice the work! We need to determine what materials we will need. What requirements will participants meet? What prizes might we offer? This certainly will be a different summer library program than last year!

And the meetings! Everything within our two-county library system has switched to meeting electronically. We have Zoom or Go To meetings for each group that a staff member is included in: circulation, cataloging, directors, adult services, youth services, accessibility, marketing, and more. In house, core staff is meeting weekly to deal with current issues and to prepare as we add more services and are again open to the public. Many of us are watching webinars on handling library duties during this trying time.

Some of the services or programs we normally provide are being changed to accommodate our new reality. We are learning how to record story times, and "how-to" videos, and how to post these on our new YouTube channel, on Facebook, and our website. We've held a scheduled program on Facebook Live! We are considering holding book club by Zoom! We're now pulling and preparing materials for walk-up check out, and making the phone calls to schedule the pick ups.

We are using this "down time" to update technology, to examine what we own, to see what gaps in equipment we have, and to learn to use all our technology more efficiently. More staff members are acquiring expertise with unfamiliar equipment. We are working out any “bugs” that we’ve noticed.

There is much research going on as various staff members read up on different library-related topics, as we learn what else is happening out there in the library world, what our options are in providing the best library service that we can - as we just plain learn more about being a library in the 21st century!

You wouldn't believe how much is happening in our quiet, darkened building! Please trust that we are working to keep everything going smoothly as we all wait for the day that we can open the doors and welcome in our much missed patrons!

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