Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Library curbside pickup starts today

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By LILY REX

The Westchester Public Library is starting curbside pickup today, Monday, May 18, and Friends of the Library book sales are canceled for now.

The Westchester Public Library Board held its regular meeting Thursday via Zoom. Board members heard updates on library operations amid ongoing efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Library Director Lisa Stamm reported staff returned to working at WPL buildings on May 11, after WPL maintenance staff conducted a deep cleaning of the facilities. WPL is providing two washable cloth masks to each employee, courtesy of a WPL manager who volunteered to sew them, and employees will be required to wear a clean mask to each shift and maintain six feet of distance from others while working.

Staff are on-hand to answer phone calls from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday at the Thomas Branch, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Hageman Branch, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays at the Thomas Branch, and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturdays at the Hageman Branch.

Starting today, patrons will be able to call and hold items and arrange for a contactless pickup in WPL parking lots. Materials returned will undergo a 72-hour quarantine period, Stamm said, since research shows that the novel coronavirus cannot stay alive on most surfaces for that long.

Curbside pickup hours will be Monday through Friday, from 1 to 6 p.m. at both branches,

Saturday from 11:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Thomas Branch, and Saturday 1:30 to 4:30 at the Hageman Branch.

Stamm reported WPL has also responded to the pandemic by bolstering Wifi signals in parking lots, so patrons can still use WPL’s free Wifi, and expanding the Library’s digital catalog. In April, WPL saw a 70% increase in digital materials use. Stamm reported she has increased digital materials since the start of the closure by rerouting $5,000 from the Thomas Branch adult fiction line item to digital and shifting $10,000 that was earmarked for adult ebooks to increase children’s and young adult digital materials.

Though Stamm repurposed money that was already budgeted to fund more digital materials, WPL has incurred some unexpected costs due to the emergency closure and its new preventive measures, which WPL’s bookkeeper is keeping a running tab of. So far, WPL has spent $5,289.82 on materials for implementing curbside pickup, buying and installing hands-free bathroom door openers, extra hand sanitizer and soap, and two extra barcode scanners and receipt printers to allow for more efficient social distancing.

In other business, WPL Board member Michele Corazzo was reappointed to another term by the Duneland School Board, and the Library switched from Demco to LibCal for its online calendar software after repeated technical issues with Demco. An asbestos survey planned for all Library buildings was also postponed due to COVID-19. The survey will be rescheduled and completed by the end of May.

Board members complimented Stamm and her staff for their hard work in continuing Library services with a focus on safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Board President Nick Tilden said he’s excited for curbside pickup to start.

“I feel confident in our plan, and our crew is excited to do it. I’m really happy and proud of everybody at the Library. We’re ready to do this in whatever way and ways we can, and attitudes are great,” Stamm said.

Corazzo noted that she’s been going through her old books since shelter-in-place started and asked about the status of the Friends of the Library book sales. Stamm said book sales are canceled for now, and WPL is not taking donations for future sales. She doesn’t anticipate hosting a fall book sale. “In talking with the branch manager who works directly with the friends, I don’t see a way to safely do that, especially when you consider the Friday night when everybody is jam packed up by AV,” Stamm said. “We appreciate you and everyone else thinking of us, but especially with having to quarantine things, we just don’t have the space,” Stamm said.

 

Posted 5/18/2020

 
 
 
 

 

 

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