Yes, we know other libraries are beginning to offer curbside. Yes, we know you are anxious to get your hands on new library materials. Yes, we know you want to return everything you checked out in March.
Do we want to offer curbside? Yes. Do we want to be able to open our book returns? Yes. Do we want to give you access to our computers, our copier and our fax machine? Yes. Do we miss you? Yes, yes, one thousand times yes!
As some libraries begin to offer curbside service, we want you to know some of our thoughts regarding why we are not in a position to offer curbside service at this time.
- We are abiding by the Governor’s stay-at-home order.
- We are not an “essential” service according to the Governor’s executive orders. Other libraries offering curbside are considered “essential government services” for a variety of reasons. For instance, they might be part of a City government that has deemed them essential. Warrenville Library’s Board of Trustees will discuss essential library services at its May 20, 2020 meeting. You are welcome to submit comments and listen to the meeting. View the meeting agenda and information packet. The agenda includes instructions for submitting public comment and accessing the meeting.
- We do not have sufficient PPE (masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, disinfectant) to ensure the safety of our staff and our cardholders. We are purchasing what we can as it becomes available. We did not purchase these supplies earlier because we did not want to compete with hospitals, health care facilities and first responders who desperately needed these items in the initial weeks of pandemic response.
- We are monitoring information from a research collaboration that will inform us of best recommended practices to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in the delivery or use of library materials. Initially other sources advised us a 24-hour quarantine of library materials was sufficient. Then we heard three days. The most recent information suggests seven days. As you know, information is changing rapidly. We are doing our best to keep up. Just when we think we have a plan, something changes and we have to go back to the drawing board. Learn more about the study.
- The decisions we make are as much about the health of our community as they are about the health of our staff. Retail stores and restaurants were given the go-ahead to do curbside pickup with specific guidance from the State of Illinois. Unlike retail stores and restaurants that have one-way transactions (you pick it up, you take it home), libraries have two-way transactions (you pick it up, you take it home, you bring it back … and then we send that material out to someone else). Because we circulate materials to many individuals and families, we are being especially cautious as we consider curbside options. We have no specific guidance from the State about the precautions needed to resume library services.
- We have fewer than 30 employees. More than half of our employees are at higher risk for serious illness if infected by the virus. We want to do everything we can to mitigate the risk of exposure.
We understand you have questions why the Warrenville Library is not offering curbside service. Different libraries have different resources and make decisions based on many factors that are unique to their organizations and communities. This is not a one-size-fits-all situation. We are in constant contact with neighboring libraries and we are learning from their experiences. We are planning to offer curbside service beginning sometime in June – but only if we are confident we can do so safely. As much as we would like to offer curbside service, we are not yet in a position to do so. When we are ready, you will know and we will celebrate that milestone together!