Library Update on our Current COVID Plan

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Authored on Friday, May 22nd, 2020 at 5:06pm
Updates on our current progress in conjunction with other local libraries, the state and federal guidelines, and what will be covered in the upcoming Board of Trustees meeting.

With New York slowly reopening, we want to give you an update about what that process might look like for the library, as well as update you about our rescheduled budget vote and trustee election.

There will be a special meeting of the library’s Board of Trustees at 4:00PM, on Monday, June 1. The primary topic on the agenda will be approval of the library’s multi-phased reopening plan, and a state-required Business Re-Opening Safety Plan, which we are currently drafting. That meeting will be followed at 5:00PM by a hearing to present the library’s budget. Both of these meetings will be held via Zoom, and streamed on the library’s website, and Facebook page.

Our reopening will happen in stages. In the initial several stages, most staff will continue to work from home, and most services will continue to be virtual. In later stages, we anticipate being able to offer contactless pick-up of library materials, and eventually to allow the public back into the building, with limitations.

The time-frame for offering access to physical library materials is still uncertain, however, we are working with other member libraries of the Southern Adirondack Library System – particularly our peers at the Crandall Public Library in Glens Falls and the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library, as well as our partners in the Mohawk Valley Library System, with whom we share a catalog and resources – on coordinating our reopening plans.

As much as possible, when we resume sharing physical materials we would like to be on the same page about how to safely handle them, how long to quarantine them, and how not to overwhelm our 8-county delivery system with the 271,000 items that are currently checked-out of our collective libraries.

We anticipate that contactless service could be in place by the week of June 21. A Saratoga Springs Public Library Business Reopening Safety Plan is available on our website.

While much is still unsure, we have made a few difficult decisions in order to keep library users and workers safe. All in-person programs and any use of library meeting rooms have been suspended until September. We will continue to present programs via Zoom and our social media channels over the summer, including our Summer Reading Program. Watch for much more to come about that.

For the upcoming fiscal year, we have prepared a budget with no increase in spending or taxes, and although, in that situation, a vote is not required, we will have one. This year the vote is coordinated with the Saratoga Springs City School District vote, and will take place entirely by absentee ballot. The library’s budget proposition and trustee candidates will appear on the same ballot as the school district’s budget propositions and school board candidates. A ballot will automatically be mailed to every eligible voter in the district, and must be returned to the school district by 5:00PM on June 9. More information about the budget can be found on our website.

Library services continue to be vitally important to our community, and will be even more so during our recovery and the difficult days ahead. We appreciate your continued support, and look forward to seeing you all in-person, when it is safer to do so.

Ike Pulver, Library Director