Update From the Library Director - July 24, 2020
Guidance for the Responsible & Strategic Reopening of the Newton Public Library
This guidance is to supplement the information provided by the Governor of Iowa and the Mayor of the City of Newton to ensure the reopening of the Newton Public Library is done appropriately and in accordance with what the Office Opening Task Force and Newton Public Library Board have approved.
The Library’s goal is to create an environment that balances our need to provide quality essential services to our community, provide our employees with a safe working environment, and do our part to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Guidelines for Phase 1 of Library Reopening (May 18th – July 5th)
• Follow Iowa Department of Public Health guidelines to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus: https://idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus/Business-and-Organizations
• Follow CDC guidance related to Cleaning and Disinfection for Community Facilities, including frequent cleaning and disinfecting of all high touch surfaces. Refer to the CDC’s Cleaning and Disinfection Tool to determine which areas need cleaning versus disinfection.
• In addition to PPE, the Library will provide adequate cleaning and disinfectant supplies, especially in high traffic areas such as restrooms, break rooms, and shared desks.
• Custodial staff will continue to clean the public restrooms and the lobby. Staff are encouraged to clean in between custodial services in high traffic areas.
• The building will be locked and no person of the public will be allowed to enter.
• Signage posted at the doors indicating no one should enter the establishment if they currently have symptoms or have been around anyone with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis in the last 14 days.
• Staff will social distance within the building when possible and are encouraged to wear a mask when social distancing is not possible.
• Washable cloth masks will be issued to each staff member. Re-usable rubber gloves will be issued to each Circ staff member for use when emptying the library book-drop. Staff will be responsible for cleaning and storing of their re-usable gloves. Disposable gloves may be used while supplies exist. Requests for additional items of PPE should be made to the Director in writing (email). These requests will be reviewed promptly and filled if possible.
• It is the responsibility of each staff member to monitor their well-being and self-report conditions of personal illness to their supervisor.
• Frequent handwashing by staff will be encouraged throughout the workday.
• Employees should avoid using equipment assigned to other staff such as phones, desks, computers, and other office supplies. Clean and disinfect all equipment that is shared use.
• All employees will be required to clean their workstations at least twice daily.
• Any employee entering the staff breakroom or kitchen is required to wash their hands before touching high-touch surfaces (fridge, microwave, utensils, Keurig, etc.).
• Any employee using the staff breakroom shall clean all surfaces appropriately to protect future users.
• Accounts that are blocked due to fines should be sent to the Director to consider waiving so services can resume during COVID.
• Materials returned to the Library’s book-drop will be quarantined for a minimum of 7 days before being checked in.
• The library will work under reduced hours: Monday through Thursday 10am-6pm, Friday 10am-5pm and closed Saturdays and Sundays.
• Curbside services will be offered Monday through Thursday from 10am to 6pm.
• Digital library cards will be offered online for users who are unable to enter the library and fill out library card applications.
• Notary service will be offered via curbside appointment and both employees and public will be required to wear a mask.
• Virtual programs will be offered through apps or Facebook.
Guidelines for Phase 2 of Library Reopening (July 6th - ?)
The guidelines in Phase 1 are still enforced except for the following additions, exceptions or changes.
• Floor arrows will be installed to direct the flow of traffic entering and leaving the building through the entrance and exit.
• The second set of the South/main entrance library doors will be propped open during business hours to remove a high-touch surface.
• Social distancing will be in place for all staff and users.
• Sneeze guards will be placed at service desks.
• Cleaning of door handles, service desks, and computers will be tracked by staff to ensure hourly cleaning or cleaning in between uses.
• The public access computers and circulation desk will open via appointment only. Restrooms will be available for handwashing and use for those coming to use computers. All other areas of the Library will be roped off and inaccessible.
• If 10% (2 staff members) of the Library’s staff has tested positive for covid-19 or is home sick with covid-19 symptoms, the Library will follow the Iowa Department of Public Health’s information and close the building for 14 days and cease all operations to mitigate an outbreak of covid-19 within the workplace. Staff will be encouraged to self-isolate and work from home if possible.
• Face masks will be required for all library visitors, ages 12+. CDC recommends customers wear a face mask in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. A sign will be posted at the entrance informing the public of the CDC’s recommendation.
• Library staff will be required to wear a mask when out in the public portion of the building during open hours.
• Staff are asked to carry their breakroom/library key with them so they can enter the breakroom from the back to immediately wash their hands and refrain from walking through the offices after a shift in the public space.
• The library will extends its shortened hours to: Monday through Thursday 10am-6pm, Friday 10am-5pm, and Saturday 10am-2pm.
• Curbside services will be expanded to allow pickups on Fridays and Saturdays.
• Items from the Library’s dropbox will be quarantined for a minimum of 3 days before being checked in and handled by library staff.
• Users will be able to reserve Library Card Application appointments to receive a Newton Library Card which will allow access to curbside service. Appointment times will vary depending on staffing of Circulation desk and staff available. Service Desk will be cleaned after each appointment.
• Computers will be available by appointment only and limited to 55 minutes. Due to social distancing, only 5 Internet computers and one microfilm computer will be available for reservation. Stations will be cleaned by staff after every use. Staff will not be able to provide assistance at the public Internet stations due to social distancing. No more than 2 people will be allowed at a computer station.
• Only virtual library programs will be offered through the end of August.
• Cash transactions will be allowed at service desks if it pertains to computer access or library account access. Most fines will continue to be waived by the Library Director in order to push users to utilizing curbside pickup.