With the gradual opening up of the state due to the move to Phase 3 of Governor Pritzker’s COVID-19 plan, the Tri-Township Public Library had hoped to open its doors to the public by now. But their plan is on hold because one of the last pieces has not yet come together.
“We’re waiting for a Plexi- glass screen to put around the circulation desk so we can pro- tect our patrons and staff from COVID,” library director David Cassens explained. “We have to approve the quote and then it has to be shipped.”
He said the manufacturer told him that it “takes about a week to get there.”
“We’re not entirely sure when it will be coming in,” said assistant director Joel Pikora.
Cassens said that was the only thing holding up the opening – for right now. Things could change at the state level too, he said. But the library is still open even though the front doors are locked to the public.
“We’re open in the sense tha people can come up and they’re getting books,” he said. “They can come up and give donations. We’re making faxes and giving answers to questions over the phone. But we’re not open to the public.”
The library still has programs. It presented Magician Chef Bananas on Zoom on Wednesday, June 10, for instance. It just held a book sale by appointment only for teachers of the Triad School District. “That was successful,” Cassens said. “We’re doing well and we’re offering more pro- grams to come.”
Library hours continue. From noon to 8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, noon to 5 p.m. Fridays and from noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays it’s been offering curbside assistance.
This includes regular circula- tion services like notary services (by appointment only), photo- copying, faxing, scanning and pickup of the library’s materials, although no material from other libraries can yet be ordered.
The Summer Reading Pro- gram goes on as usual using Beanstack for digital tracking and take-home kits, and the Triad School District Summer Lunch Program once again stops at the greenspace behind the building.
The next phase
After the front circulation area gets that Plexiglass screen to separate the staff and public, the next phase of the library’s re-opening plan will begin.
• The library will continue to operate with modi ed hours. Curbside service will continue. The library will be open to 25 patrons at a time, with the front desk staff being expected to keep a “capacity chart” (to count the patrons coming into and leaving the building).
• Patrons, front desk staff and any other staff member on the “Circulation Floor” must wear a face mask at all times. Social Distancing rules will be in effect, such as tables will have only one chair and the library’s public computers will be spread out.
This procedure will followed as long as they are in Stage 4 of re-opening.
The nal stage
Pending any serious setbacks resulting in COVID-19 or legislation from the state of Illinois or the State Library, the library will then begin to implement on-site programming which will:
• Have programming in small groups – only ve members of the public plus one staff member to oversee it. Programs will also be held outside in the library’s green space, weather permitting. Zoom programming will proceed unchanged.
• July will be the same as the last week of June. By August the library will reevaluate and continue to make steps to restore pre-pandemic hours and slowly factor in to on-site programming.
“By August, hopefully we can have our regular business hours,” Cassens said during a May inter- view. “After that we may bring back more on-site programming. This is all subject to change. It’s too early to say anything about the fall.
“At any point the governor could just close everything. At that point the plan will be reset,” he said then. “If the coronavirus comes back in the fall, depend- ing on how severe it is, we may have to go back on lockdown or go to shorter hours, depending what the governor says. We’ll just have to play it by ear.
In the meantime, library patrons can easily nd what they want online.
“We’re continuing our online resources to get digital materials from Hoopla and Cloud Library so the public can down- load online books and audio- books through Cloud Library and books, audiobooks, music, television shows, movies and graphic novels through Hoopla,” Pikora said.