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Special Interest Group Archive: Reference 06/10/2020

These are the notes from meetings dating back to 2015.

June 10, 2020

We held the meeting on June 10, 2020 via Zoom. The convener was Charles De Yoe from Chester Public Library.


Introduction: The story of your mug. 

What is the reopening plan? 

  • Chester: working at half capacity, alternating weeks and totally closed to the public at the moment. They’re having a soft launch next week. They have around 15 staff.
  • Newburgh: 75 total staff, and they don’t have working A/C because of construction. It does not seem like a good time to start the process. 
  • Hudson: We are doing curbside next week. Working out scheduling and doing everything we can to keep everyone physically distant and safe
  • SUNY: They have established the need for a phased re-opening, although some people want to jump right back in. There’s a re-opening committee, and no word on in-person classes for next year. In its place, there are two plans for either eventuality. 
  • Dominican: Right now, the plan is for us to go back into the library on June 22nd. We will still be closed to patrons and offer curbside pick-up. The only difference is we're split up into two groups and we alternate groups every 2 weeks. And within each group, we're only going to be on campus for a few days and then the rest of the week we're working from home. The college has a Reopening committee, but there's no official policy in place as far as I know.
  • My director created a schedule where all of our staff can be on campus, but we only work a few days a week and she set it up where there's one person working in one area of the library at a time. So one person is working at the front desk and one person is working in the tech services office.
  • Hyde Park: 50% staff, started curbside yesterday. They have to call for local holds. 
  • RCLS is back to work this week, and all the offices have been moved around to accommodate social distancing. 

Does everyone have a pandemic policy in place? 

  • There is a concern about another spike and there won’t be a statewide closure. At Hyde Park, the director submitted information and plans to the state. There does seem to be good concern about the staff
  • SUNY New Paltz is making contingency plans. 
  • Working from home feels like busywork compared to serving patrons. I feel as though that’s what the beginning felt like for me, but now I seem to be busy with “proper work”. The fact that patrons tend not to read signs has morphed into and existential terror for me now

Do we have enough PPE?

  • Amazon is in deep trouble with selling PPE from dubious sources
  • A modern-day nightmare is not having enough masks, or having one break in public. 
  • Dominican is supposed to provide masks and gloves to the staff when we return.
  • Without knowing how long it will all stretch out, it’s hard to say how long we’ll need to keep supplying the PPE. 
  • As of right now, we plan to have patrons wear a mask before coming into the building. If they don't have one, they can't come in.

Who is enforcing the rules and the entrance limits? 

  • The librarians are worried about having to do it. 
  • A library board or whoever is overseeing should put these rules in place. 
  • Our administration and facilities are determining how many people can be in the building and in each room. I assume the staff or security will have to enforce it. But I'm not sure.
  • People feel like calling the police is their only recourse. 
  • As I understand, there are ADA trolls trying to claim the right to come in without a mask. As I understand it (not a lawyer), you can provide alternatives, and accommodations for them can’t be a health risk
  • COVID-19: ADA Takeaways for Businesses Requiring Face Masks 
  • We're doing all of our Reference Virtually. Even if a student comes into the building for help
  • Offer alternatives to people who don’t want to wear masks. 
  • It’s possible the patrons don’t want to be there either!
  • Are there going to be restrictions on returning ILLs that are going into quarantine? (probably not.)
  • We need to hope that all the libraries in the system work together. 

The current political moment

  • Newburgh: has not broached the topic beyond putting out different book lists. 
  • Dominican: Our President put out a statement (email) for the College about racial equality and our support for a diverse campus.
  • SUNY New Paltz: The President put out a statement, and the library Dean reiterated the statement and the library’s mission. 
  • We started trying to collect submissions for a Current History project for COVID, and are changing it to include submissions based around the movement going on now
  • In terms of the library, we've been focusing on reopening and COVID-19 that we haven't really done anything on behalf of the library. We pretty much follow suit with the college.
  • RCLS put out a statement: 

Join Statement of Action & Support: Dear Colleagues,

The news cannot be ignored. While it's important to remember that libraries welcome everyone, racism is still in existence in our communities and our profession. RCLS condemns racism towards Black people and all People of Color.

RCLS will be undertaking to continue education and open dialogue initiatives, both immediately and for the foreseeable future, in order to open communication and have a meaningful conversation as to how we can support you, our field, and the library community.

 The first program in a series on racism and inclusion will be held on June 16th at 11 am via BlueJeans: Understanding Racism.

 The second program will feature a panel of librarians of color speaking about their experiences in the profession. This program will take place on July 1st. Registration for the panel may be found here. was cut off: In addition to providing the platform and programs to foster conversation, RCLS will work closely with the Coalition for Library Workers of Color to increase diversity in library staff and support the career growth of this population.

The call to action is long overdue. We hope you will join RCLS and the Coalition for Library Workers of Color to further the conversation and become an integral part of the fight to end racism.

  • New CE from RCLS:
  • Understanding Racism & Librarians of Color panel. Registration is open for RCLS members.
  • Instead of Defund Police: how about fund libraries? Fund education? 
  • I SAY THAT ALL THE TIME! My wife is a teacher
  • Education and social support do so much to reduce crime, but are always losing money

Next meeting: Wednesday, July 8, 2pm. 

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