Message from the Director
Happy May OPL patrons!
While the warm weather, green grass and the return of the phoebes nesting under the eaves of my side porch are cause for celebration, the fact that library services have been temporarily paused are not.
I had hoped that this communication would bring the news that we would start offering some services during the Governor's Phase I. The recommendations at the local, state and federal levels all say that we need to stay the course for now. What that means is that the physical library will remain closed for the time being, the services that we are able to provide are all virtual, and the staff continues to work remotely.
When will that change?? We are taking guidance from the local public health officials, Maine State Library as well as the Institute for Museum and Library Services which is partnering with OCLC, Inc. (a global library cooperative) and Battelle (a not-for-profit global research and development organization). This collaboration serves to carry out a research project that will consider safe reopening practices in light of COVID-19. Libraries are unique in at least two ways: materials are exchanged (lent and returned); and the building is a community gathering place. Some considerations in making the decision to reopen include:
- How long does the virus live on paper, cardboard, inside the pages of a book, DVDs, plastic covers, public seating, public computers, crayons, puppets, toys, etc.?
- How do we handle different types of materials in order to mitigate exposure?
- How do we safely offer curbside services?
- What are the safety issues with Interlibrary loan?
- How many people can safely be in the library space at one time and does that include staff?
- How do we provide all the expected services while keeping a safe social distance?
- What are the legal and insurance ramifications of opening too soon?
There is much to consider and please rest assured that the staff is busy planning and making sure that when we do begin to offer services, that we have public health and safety as our number one priority.
We miss seeing all of you and know that many of you miss having new (physical) books on a regular basis. We are so sorry that we can’t make the return to regular library services happen sooner. When we are able to reopen, it will be cause for a celebration, albeit at a 6 ft distance, and with masks and gloves - but definitely a celebration!!
Be well and stay safe,
Laurie & OPL staff