A letter from Library Director Helen Malinka
June 18, 2020
I have received many questions about the reopening of the Berlin-Peck Memorial Library. The love the community has shown for our library is heartwarming, and the staff and I are grateful to hear how much our services are appreciated and needed. By now, you have noticed that the Library did not re-open on June 17th in Phase 2, a choice made by many libraries in the area.
The decision about when to open our library will be guided by feedback from the local Health District, local library governance and Town government and will take into consideration the physical characteristics of the building, our staffing levels, and the progression of the coronavirus. When we do re-open, these factors may not allow the immediate restoration of the same levels of service we once provided.
Here are some of the factors that need to be addressed before a library can reopen to the public in a way that is safe for both visitors and staff:
- Adequate PPE for library staff and visitors
- Possible limits on the number of people in the building
- Possible limits on the amount of time visitors spend here
- Separation of people using computers or study rooms
- Redesign or suspension of events that bring in large groups
- Redesign or adaptation of places where people interact face-to-face, such as check-out desks or reference services
- Planning to accomplish disinfection of shared surfaces multiple times during each workday
We look forward to returning to the personal services that brought us to library work as a profession, but that desire is challenged by the need to make radical changes that will significantly alter how we serve you, our most respected guests. Your safety, along with the safety of the library staff, is my utmost priority.
The next phase in our re-opening process will occur in the beginning of July. We will open the lobby, allowing for access to the copy machine, an express internet station and a socially distant staff for basic reference help. Wireless printing will also be available, as well as one-hour appointments for study rooms and internet computers. As always, we are here to help you by phone or e-mail and will provide additional no-contact services such as virtual programming and curbside delivery for as long as necessary. While there is risk everywhere, my goal is to mitigate as much of that risk as possible.
Thank you for your understanding while we work through these challenges.