The COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic has changed all of our lives. At the Monroe County Library System, we have been working throughout the closure of our physical branches to expand our online services to better serve our community. We have increased patron access to eBooks, streaming video content, virtual story times, and book talks to maintain our connections to you. Our Community Librarians, Youth Services staff and other staff members have been preparing to serve our patrons in new ways once we are allowed to reopen, including innovative ways to participate in our annual Summer Reading Program.
We are committed to keeping you, our coworkers, and our community safe and healthy. This will mean changes to how we provide library services and building access as we move through the transition from having our brick-and-mortar branches fully closed to fully open, as well as every phase in-between.
Our first priority is the safety and well-being of our community and staff. To that end, we have been working on securing adequate supplies of hand sanitizer, disinfectants, and protective equipment. We placed supply orders weeks ago and many items that have been on backorder are arriving daily.
Despite our physical closure, we are getting your library branches ready for the various phases of our reopening plans. Plexiglass shields will be installed at circulation desks. Computer stations and furniture will be rearranged to accommodate best practices in social distancing. All returned materials will be quarantined. We are working with local officials as well as our colleagues at other libraries, to stay up to date on the latest developments. Guidelines from the American Library Association, the Library of Michigan and the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Center for Disease Control, are also being followed.
Though we have not been given permission to open on any particular day, I wanted to let you know that we are planning a gradual, phased opening, starting with “curbside service”. We will then ramp up our services as indicated by the availability of protective equipment and supplies as well as our local/state/federal restrictions on physical distancing, sanitization, and maximum building occupancy ratios. We will communicate those plans to you as each phase unfolds.
We are looking forward to seeing you in our branches as soon as safely possible.
Nancy Bellaire
Director, Monroe County Library System
May 26, 2020