While most Westchester libraries are providing some version of contact-less pickup service, a handful have opened their doors for limited access to browse sections of the library’s collection. No two libraries are taking the same approach to limited re-opening as each library building has constraints that determine how best to maintain social distancing protocols and a safe environment for staff and library patrons. For example, there are limits on the number of patrons that can enter (from 10 to 25 in most libraries) and how long they can stay (30 minute maximum). Chairs and tables have been removed and most of the library remains closed to the public. Currently, no libraries are offering in-building programs or large gatherings.
At Greenburgh, we are taking a cautious approach to re-opening because our priority remains doing everything we can to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. We feel that providing responsive curbside pickup service, online reference chat, and maintaining robust and diverse online library programs gives our community opportunities to discover, learn and grow without the risk of spreading or contracting the virus. For most patrons, using the library is a tactile experience. Each visitor to the library (we average about 800 visits per day) touches books and DVDs, chairs, desktops, door handles, banisters, touch screens, keyboards, library cards, etc. We have yet to find a way to sanitize all these touchable surfaces so completely that we would feel confident welcoming the public back into the building.
GPL will reopen in stages following the example of other libraries whose practices have kept patrons and staff safe. As New York progresses toward fewer cases and we reach a point where the risk of infection is minimal, additional in-person services will resume. The staff looks forward to once again welcoming our community into the library because we miss you! Until then, stay safe and healthy.