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Slowly Reopening

How does it feel to be starting to see things open? Are you ready to jump in feet first, anxious to hit the mall or get your hair and nails done, or are you only cautiously dipping a toe in to test the cold? I’m definitely only dipping a toe – honestly, just the tip of my toe – I’m not quite ready to be in any type of crowded situation, but definitely longing to see (and hug!) my family & friends. I want businesses to be able to reopen and flourish, of course. I want people to be able to get haircuts and manicures. I just don’t think *I’m* ready for any of those things. According to a Siena Research Institute poll released on May 27, New Yorkers voted 2-1 that they feel the state is reopening too quickly. I was actually surprised by that figure – I thought I was in a much smaller minority.

I don’t remember what my thoughts were back in March about what “coming out on the other side” would be like once the stay-at-home / NY Pause order was lifted. Most likely it was such an alien thing to be going through in the first place that I didn’t have any concept of “life after the pandemic” or what our “new normal” would be.

Now here we are, two and a half long, long months later (seriously, April seemed like it lasted 5 years, right?) and portions of New York have entered Phase 1 of reopening, and eyeing starting Phase 2 soon. Did you know that libraries are included in the businesses that can reopen during Phase 2? Now *this* I can be whole-heartedly excited for! Small libraries like ours are almost made for physical distancing while still being able to access new books and movies and newspapers.

Our library staff and Board members have been emailing and meeting (physically separately, of course!) to begin discussions on how our library will operate and act as things begin to move forward. As with everything with this pandemic, the rules and ideas change almost daily (if not hourly), but as of right now, libraries that are in a Phase 2 region can begin opening for curbside transactions only. (We’re lucky that we have a parking lot to make this easier for our patrons and our staff). Delivery of books and materials from other libraries won’t resume until the majority of MVLS libraries are open, and open for some limited in-person contact (which {again, as of today anyway}, is probably during Phase 3).

Rest assured we are discussing all things hygiene, safety, and health – how will returned books and materials be disinfected? Will we limit the number of patrons who can be in the library at the same time? (Again, here’s gratitude for our small size – we’re rather naturally limited by our space as to how many people we can accommodate anyway!) We’ll clean and disinfectant following all NYS and CDC guidelines. We’re going to require everyone, staff and patrons, to wear masks when they are in the library (if you are not able to wear a mask for health concerns, we will happily offer you curb-side, physically distant service).

I know that more things will change as the days pass; there are two meetings this week alone to discuss library reopening, so this might be outdated before it’s even posted on the blog! But we want you know that we are working diligently, and safely, to reopen our library as soon as it’s responsible for us to do so. We will post updates on our web-site and Facebook page when we have them.

What are your thoughts on the library reopening? What would you like to see? Please tell us in the comments or on our Facebook page – we definitely want to hear from all of you!

As always, stay safe, and we really can’t wait to see you all in person soon!

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