Library patrons will be pleased to know that the Latham Library will finally be open to all comers on July 19, no appointments required, after adhering to guidelines from the VT Department of Libraries Reopening Information, the Thetford Emergency Management Director, and the Community Nurse since March of this year.
At the start of the pandemic, the library services were limited to “Phase 1” operations, where only curbside pickup of books and other materials was possible, and returned books were sanitized and quarantined. Any programs that were available were held through Zoom. “Phase 2” began in early May and added limited on-site internet and collection browsing, with temperature checks, masks, and sanitizing of mouse, keyboard, and surfaces. In late May any programs switched to taking place outdoors.
July 19th heralds the start of “Phase 3” where free public access is now possible thanks to grant funding that provided the library with air purifiers, a sneeze guard at the desk, and a generous stock of PPE. If many people are using the building, open windows and doors will increase air flow in and out. There are residents standing by to serve as back-up staff in case of illness. Staff and volunteers are all tested, and a high proportion are vaccinated. Limited gathering may be allowed, though 6-foot distancing is still in effect regarding computer workstations and checkouts.
It is up to library users to consider their vaccination status and whether they have any cold-like symptoms as highlighted in warning signs asking symptomatic people to stay outside. Another thing to think about is any recent travel abroad. The library is providing masks, and everyone is asked to use the hand sanitizer when they enter. People may continue to use curbside pickup to borrow books if they feel averse to entering the building.
Much planning, consultation with local Emergency Management, and studying of state guidelines has been poured into these preparations. Library users can acknowledge the work and dedication that keeps the Latham Library open even under the restrictions imposed by a pandemic and honor it by remembering that we are all participants in public health and safety.
Latham Library Summer Hours: