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Special Interest Group Archive: Archives SIG 7/30/2020

These are the notes from meetings dating back to 2015.

July 30, 2020

The Archives SIG was held on Thursday, July 30, 2020 via Zoom.


 Where is everyone with re-opening? Has anything changed since our last meeting? 

  • One public library has been moving in phases; currently in “C” phase. 10 patrons can be allowed in the building at the time. An appointment needs to be made in the children’s room or in the history room. Maxed at 1-2 hours typically. 
  • Volume so far has been low - only one patron or so has been coming in per day. 

Is disinfectant being used on the tables in the history room?

  • Very rarely, unless someone is going to be coming in and using the table. 
  • The copier has been disinfected regularly. 
  • A plexiglass shield has been put on the desk; people have a tendency to try and duck under the shield. 
  • Everyone is required to wear a mask when they are in the library. Staff have the option to wear a face shield or a mask. (So far there haven’t been many issues). 

Libraries / museums are all in different phases of re-opening: 

  • One library isn’t currently open to the public. They are working on creating plans  to start. There are a lot of things to be considered -- will appointments need to be made? Will there need to be some kind of scheduling software implemented? 
  • Museum - Open by appointment. Cleaning is being done before and after appointments. They are using special materials to clean items safely. There is no date set for opening; considering doing a soft opening to see how it goes. It’s a challenge because there are a lot of out-of-state visitors this time of year. These people are supposed to quarantine for 2 weeks but there is no way to confirm that they have. 
  • Only supposed to be at 25% capacity. 
  • It is possible to do some outdoor activities with social distancing. 
  • Other library: doing curbside delivery. People make an appointment to pick up items. They are also doing appointments for computer use; half hour minimum. They are using google sheets to schedule the appointments. Soon more people will be able to come in. However, the security guard needs to be present to make sure that people coming in are wearing masks. In between appointments, everything is sanitized. Everything that comes in the book drop is being quarantined.
  • Museum still closed; but able to put up an exhibit outside.  


Do you have to share with your employer about covid?  

  • Legally you don’t ever have to share. 
  • Ethically, though, people should share if they have covid. 
  • What do you do if someone says they have a health reason for not wearing a mask? 
  • Everything should be documented in policies. Accommodations can be made, but you don’t have to allow someone in your facility without a mask if you can't accommodate them safely (offer curb-side or remote). Specifically note that the mask needs to cover the mouth and nose. 
  • It’s hard to know how cautious other people are being.


Has anyone come up with ideas on how to make things more accessible?

  • Recently at one of the SIGS someone requested close captioning. Notes were taken live, but now the council is looking into services that can do this automatically. 
  • Transcription is challenging because it requires certain skills or money to pay for a specific service. 
  • In event sign ups, there is a note for potential accommodations. Language was included to make it clear that accommodations needed to be requested in advance so solutions could be found ahead of time. 

It’s hard not to be paranoid when you spend time with people! It’s challenging because archival work can not always be done remote. It’s hard not to mistake symptoms when you’re feeling anxious. 


What’s going to happen when it gets colder and it’s harder to be outside? (Or if the weather causes another Covid-19 spike) 

If on-site visits have to be scaled back, then that’s what will happen. 

  • Any decisions have to be top-down, and come for the director. 
  • Not sure what to do about volunteers / interns - they can’t really do things remotely. There are also benchmarks and certain hours they need to accomplish. It’s hard to accommodate students over the semester. 
  • Give a few hours in the morning for volunteers. It’s challenging because some volunteers are working in high-risk areas (such as a grocery store) and others have become responsible for childcare in their families. 
  • A lot of volunteers don’t want to do computer-related work. It’s hard to find projects to send home that aren’t computer related. 

What do you want from the SIG moving forward? Should we have open-ended meetings or programming / presentations? 

  • It’s good to know what other people are doing and how they are managing.
  • A mixture of check-ins and programming would be good. 

Covid-19 questionnaires: 

  • Have one person do a staff check-in every day. Keeping a paper trail is a little unnecessary. 
  • Some places have to use an app and check in -- there are some privacy concerns. 
  • Patrons who come in typically have to fill out a questionnaire. 
  • One school district is doing temperature checks every morning. Have to submit in an app before the child comes in. 


Next meeting will be Tuesday, September 15th at 11.

Southeastern NY Library Resources Council
21 South Elting Corners Road | Highland, NY 12528
Phone: (845) 883-9065