By Library Manager Michelle A. Rounds
So as I sit here and think, I need to write something here for our library readers….I could seriously send in last week’s musings as nothing has changed. We are open for no contact pickups and browsing, computer, notary faxes, prints and copy appointments….but nothing is new at Morrisville Public Library. We are stuck in our new normal, masked and ready to serve you!
Honestly though, a lot has changed. If you make an inside appointment, you and I or you and Ben will be the only ones in the building. There are no seating areas for patrons to sit and relax. No programming or public restrooms. Everything you touch must be cleaned after. We all have to wear a mask and use hand sanitizer upon entering and exiting the building. Staff have a daily health screening complete with temperature checks. We have MERV-13 filters in our HVAC unit to help prevent the spread of respiratory droplets as well as have opened the windows in the new section of the library. All, to keep us, staff and patrons alike, as safe as possible.
We are getting the question, why aren’t you open like other libraries? Why aren’t we? (Technically we are, see above). At this time, we do not feel that we have the need to hire back any more staff. Our appointments and times we are open are not full so we do not need additional time slots yet. Ben does evenings and I do the days. It’s working for us and we are trying to limit as many people handling materials as we can to keep things as safe for our patrons as possible. On that note, it’s just Ben and I. So if one of us succumbs to the virus, we will have to close. Doing appointments where there is just one person and a staff member in the building, limits the exposure should the virus make its way into the library.
And, the other reason, our library budget for next year did not pass in June. We have been told some of our other funding sources for this fiscal year are being decreased and no one has any idea what the library will receive for funding next year. We cannot do any fundraising this year in house (so no book sales, silent auction etc.) due to the pandemic so we are “tightening the purse strings” more than ever. When no one except a staff member is in the building, most of the lights are off. The heat/AC is turned way down or off. We are not using the front of the library so that area has been closed off to save on utilities. We have cancelled the newspapers and soon will be cancelling most, if not all, of our magazine subscriptions as they have just gotten too expensive and do not circulate enough.
So that’s why we are not open like “normal” with our other member libraries. We are doing the best we can with the hand we were dealt. And the patrons who have been using the library since we reopened in June have been amazing, very cooperative, kind and appreciative. We thank you and despite the grim outlook, we will continue to do the best we can with the little we have. Until next week…. Stay safe!