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Special Interest Group Archive: Library Support Staff 8/18/2020

These are the notes from meetings dating back to 2015.

Notes from the meeting

Library Support Staff 8/18/20

Convener: Cheryl-Ann Lauritano, Newburgh Free Library

What patron challenges do we face, and how can we address them moving forward?

R: For public libraries who are open now, how do you deal with patrons and bad mask wearing and social distancing? 

  • The students are coming in as patrons, and they are just living there. You can’t put a time limit on a student coming in.
  • There are patrons that do continuously take their masks off, so we have been vigilant to approach them about the masks. We do have security at PPLD but we have tried to refrain from contacting them about it. We have had to do so a couple of times though for a few patrons
  • A lot of patrons have been very thankful that we have been open since mid June


- At PPLD, tables are spaced apart and there is only one chair per table

- D: We opened last week, and so far we've had no issues.  Patrons have been respectful and thankful we're open

- That's a really great question. New City is the only library I work for currently that is open to the public but its very limited and so far we have not faced any difficulties with patrons not cooperating.

- When it comes to masks, we have signs up at the door and in the stairwells and elevators and each floor that masks are required and it must cover the nose and mouth

- Our opening (at vassar) was actually delayed by *gov't standards. And there have been a handful of cases among returning students and without constant testing I'm not sure how we contain that. There is scheduled testing, just not as often. And the students were tested before they came and as they arrived and quickly quarantined. I'm not sure of the specifics on what metrics we didn't meet.

- If patrons are not wearing a mask we do approach them and ask them kindly to put it on, or to cover their nose with it, too

- They do a headcount of everyone coming in, they don’t do temperature checks. 


Is there a law requiring social distancing and mask wearing? 

  • Yes, the governor mandated it. But that doesn’t mean that students follow the rules.
  • At MSMC, security is not responsible for enforcing mask mandates.
  • There is scheduled testing, just not as often as I'd like. And they were tested before they came and as they arrived and quickly quarantined. I'm not sure of the specifics on what metrics we didn't meet.

- At Newburgh, they take their temperature at the opening and fill out a form to say there are no other conditions that would indicate they are sick. 

- We have a an online health questionnaire we have to answer before coming in every day Mon_Fri. The info goes to HR and I don't think it's stored long-term. Just if you check you're going into the office and have symptoms don't come in.

- Bard is curbside only but get a LOT of questions about scanning things for patrons

    how are you managing the scanning questions?


Computer sharing:

- For computers here we took out about half of them so that  there are several feet between them. We have hand sanitizer by the computers with a sign by it to use it before and after using the computers. We have limited computer time to up to 1 hour a day and we are not issuing guest passes.

- We will be using laser pointers and Quick Assist

- They are making appointments and asking people to wait in the lobby. 


Getting materials: 

- There are plastic barriers at the reference and checkout desks with an opening at the bottom. The scanners are corded so it can reach the opening. We ask the patrons to hold their card in the opening so we can scan it without touching it. We still need to touch the books, but we have antibacterial gel on both sides of the counter

    The pages are cleaning every book that gets dropped off during the day.

    We would not have the space to quarantine the books with the amount we receive so cleaning is really our option.

- For ILL we can only have one of our team of the three physically in the building so service turnaround time is a little slower. Which isn't ideal but the space isn't big enough to maintain social distance otherwise, especially if/when we have student workers return.

- We have signs encouraging self-checkouts

- Check out the REALM Webinar for lots of info about what can and should be cleaned and how: 

- For DVDs we clean the outside of the cases but we don't clean the inside or the actual DVD

- For returns of materials from patrons, we have them drop it off in the drop boxes only, we will not accept returns at the desks. So any fines we just say we will handle it next time the patron is in. If patrons are at their limits of checked-out items we just ask if they have brought some items back that day


Are you still accepting cash for fines?

- We still accept cash

- Nope =[ At New City we are accepting all forms of payment

- No changes, all forms of payment are accepted


What are some new opportunities that we can pass on to patrons?

What if they don’t have good technology? 

- I told the Director of Livingston Manor about contacting his patrons since I got the idea from this group, so he send out post cards to them and the idea was well-received! However, information was changing so quickly, they decided to send out a mailing instead.


What are the benefits of having staff on the floor instead of at a desk?

- Many people here aren’t at a circ desk anyway.

- One person at a college thought - What if I went out more to see if people were following mask regulations and all? But then an injury prevented that, so they’re looking to student workers to wipe keyboards, count patrons, refill sanitizer.

- We’re still going to help patrons find things and do things - the job won’t change that much.

- Our reference, circulation, and IT desks are always fully staffed for the public to interact with, and employees are still going out to assist patrons with the copies, finding books, etc. It does pretty much feel back to normal for the most part

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