Chesterton Tribune



Westchester libraries to remain closed until further notice

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The Westchester Public Library will remain closed to the public until further notice to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Library closure was previously set to expire April 12 after the Library Board authorized an emergency closure starting March 17.

Library Director Lisa Stamm first reported the extension of the closure yesterday afternoon in an email to all Library staff where she thanked them for being at the ready and urged them to stay safe.

Stamm is authorized to extend the Board approved closure without additional review from the Board, per WPL’s emergency polices, though she told the Chesterton Tribune the Board members are concerned with staff and patron health and safety and support her decision to keep WPL closed.

“Once it is safe to do so, WPL will open in phases with limited services, while observing social distancing measures. I do not know yet when that may be. I am planning and assessing as we, statewide and nationwide, learn more information,” Stamm said. “The most important thing is that everyone, including the Library, does their part to flatten the curve and stop spreading the virus,” she added.

There will not be a Library Board meeting this month, and the May Board meeting will proceed on its planned date via a conference call that the public is welcome to join.

Patrons should continue to hold onto physical Library items they borrowed before the closure and will not accrue late fees for the duration of the closure.

Per the Board’s action in March, staff will continue to be paid for their normally scheduled hours during the closure, according to Stamm.

Stamm said WPL staff are working from home on various projects and planning for when the Library reopens. Staff are also discussing the logistics of providing a materials pick-up service like the Porter County Library has instituted.

“WPL’s Virtual Library is open 24/7, and we are creating storytime and program videos and other content, and making it available on our YouTube channel and Facebook page. We are available to answer patron questions via Ask a Librarian on our website, and patrons may also call and leave a voicemail, which will be returned by Reference and other staff members,” Stamm said.


Posted 4/9/2020




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