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Groton Public Library Protocols Established for Reopening

The Select Board voted to adopt the following protocols prepared for the re-opening of the Groton Public Library. GPL staff are town employees and as such will adhere to the Town’s Re-Opening Protocols as provided by the Town Manager and Select Board (except for #2 about one-on-one public meetings prior to opening as being specific to Town Hall.)
     The Library Trustees Add the Following Provisions for the Groton Public Library:
1. Anticipated opening for the public to enter the building: Tuesday, July 7, 2020 (subject to change) and with the following in place:
     a. Masks and a no-touch thermometer will be available at both entrances. We will request all who enter have their temperature taken and to wear a mask.
     b. Anyone entering the building must have an appointment. Staff will confirm all appointments through email. Exceptions will be granted to those who do not have Internet access or email.
     c. The first area open to the public will be the top floor, with spatially separate computers, public equipment (scanner/fax, copier), seating, and work areas.
     d. Library stacks will be closed to the public. Staff will retrieve all items for patrons.
     e. Meeting and Study Rooms will be closed for operational use, repurposed as spatially distant staff working areas; quarantining and sorting of materials, mail, and delivery; and for cloth furniture storage.
2. Children’s Walk-Up Thru-Window Service starts Tuesday, June 16, 2020 (subject to change)
     Children’s Services will be provided through GPL To Go and Thru-Window-Only, with the Children’s Room remaining closed through the summer because:
     a. Young children cannot be expected to adhere to spatial distancing protocols.
     b. GPL is fortunate that the Children’s Room is located on the ground floor with windows that open to a walkway.
     c. Minimum staffing levels and the hiring freeze have disproportionately hit the Children’s Department, which is understaffed by 1.5 FTEs.
3. Service Hours Changes Coming Early-to-Mid June for the summer (subject to change)
     a. GPL To Go Curbside Pick-Up & Local Delivery has been fully operational since April 7, with service hours of 10 a.m.-2 p.m. every day, Sunday to Saturday. But with all staff returning to working in the building in alignment with the town’s schedule, we will move toward closer-to-normal service hours and staffing schedules with something like Tuesday to Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
     b. Once GPL re-opens to the public, we might close midday for one-two hours to allow for cleaning of all public areas, staff lunch breaks, and/or to provide a safe transition time for a full staffing change (if appropriate).
     c. GPL will not return to full hours until minimum staffing levels and the hiring freeze are removed, as Reference and Circulation are understaffed by 1 FTE.
4. Maximum Allowed Spacing During Initial Opening to Public:
     a. Top Floor: 10 People or 20 Family
          i.  Top Floor Computer Areas: 4 people or 8 family
          ii. Top Floor Scanner/Fax or Copier: 1 person or 2 family
          iii. Top Floor Carrels: 2 people
          iv. Top Floor Reference Tables: 2 people or 4 family
          v. Top Floor Window Seating Area: 2 people or 4 family
     b. There will be no more than 20 people in the building at one time, excluding staff.
     c. After a person has vacated an area or station, staff will wipe it down. Things that are harder to clean (e.g. keyboards) will be covered with a thin plastic film that is discarded and replaced after each user.
     d. The public will be restricted to the two bathrooms on the top floor. All other bathrooms will be for library staff use only.
     e. The public coffee station will be removed. No food will not be allowed.
     f. All public and shared areas will be cleaned thoroughly at least once a day.
     g. The rear/parking lot entrance will be the primary access point to enter the building, but a wireless doorbell will be installed at the Main St. entrance for people who prefer to use the front door.
5. Programs Continue Online-Only through the summer. Summer Reading Programs will run June 15 to August 31 for kids, teens, and adults. These will be done online and/or on paper.
Final Notes:
     Groton Public Library is in a much better position that nearly every other public library in the state because we never ceased the following services:
1. Providing Live Patron Service via phone and email 7 days a week
2. Having Essential Staff in the Building
3. Offering a Full Schedule of Library Programs (online)
4. Accepting Returns
     GPL added many new services that began the first week staff were working from home (March 23):
1. Vastly expanded social media sites, activities, news, promotion, and engagement.
2. Online Reading Programs for both kids and teens (QUARAN- TEENS!) – never before offered in the spring.
     On Tuesday, April 7, GPL To Go Curbside Pick-Up & Local Delivery launched officially. Groton one of only three known public libraries (Woburn, Shutesbury) in the state providing this service during the state of emergency.
     Additionally, staff is even launching an all-new GPL Magic Academy Reading Challenge for kids, teens and families starting Monday, May 11, to fill the weeks until Summer Reading begins.
     The GPL Team is exceedingly grateful that the Town Manager, Select Board, and Library Trustees trusted us and gave us the freedom to innovate and experiment with providing as much safe service as possible to Groton during this state of emergency.
     GPL is now in the enviable position of being far ahead of nearly every other town public library in the Commonwealth with regard to re-opening.
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