HUDSON — Activity at the library has been "slow but very steady" since the facility reopened to the public on June 23, the director said.
Before reopening last week, the Hudson Library & Historical Society had been closed since March 13 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The library is currently open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (with the first hour reserved for vulnerable patrons); 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays; and closed on Sundays.
E. Leslie Polott, the facility’s director, said the feedback she’s received from patrons "has been very positive for the most part." She noted patrons thanked her and her staff for reopening in a manner that is safe for both visitors and employees. Only 60 people (including employees) are allowed in the building at a given time. Everyone in the building over the age of 2 must wear a face covering, said Polott.
All staff members, patrons and anyone else entering the library will have their temperatures taken, said Polott. If their temperature is 100.4 degrees or higher, Polott noted, "we will retake the temperature several times as well as use an alternative thermometer. If anyone still has a temperature, they will be asked to leave."
Other safety features in the building include: plastic shields at each public service desk, a people counter which limits the number of people in the building at any given time; disinfectant wipes throughout the facility; social distancing markers placed 6 feet apart on the ground both inside and outside the building; signage placed on stacks stating only one person is allowed in an aisle at a time; and chained paths to guide people on entering and exiting the building, as well as to provide directions to the circulation desk, reference kiosk and children's kiosk.
Polott added patrons have expressed appreciation for features such as curbside and drive-up services, browsing allowed on the first floor, books stored on the second floor and in the Teen Room being brought to patrons at their request and computer assistance being provided in the Rotunda. Computer access in the Rotunda is being offered in half-hour blocks of time.
Only portions of the first floor are open, said Polott, who noted the Teen Room, Born to Play, the Flood Room and the Cafe are closed. A temporary reference kiosk is set up in the Cafe and a temporary children’s kiosk is stationed next to the entrance to the Children’s Room.
So far, all categories of materials are popular among visitors, but Polott said children’s resources are in demand because the library is conducting its Summer Learning program.
Polott said the Teen Room is now being used to both store furniture and as an overflow space to quarantine library materials. She added patrons have asked when the Friends Bookstore space will reopen and noted she expects it to reopen with "limited access" some time in July.
"Unfortunately the Friends space is very cramped which presents challenges when trying to facilitate social distancing," said Polott. "The library is working with the Friends group and President Lynn Remly to develop a safe re-entry plan."
Polott said the library is not accepting donations because those materials would have to be quarantined for a period of time, and she noted the facility is already quarantining returned items and will soon begin doing the same with materials it acquires through statewide resource sharing.
Another space that remains closed is the Archives Room. Polott said her staff is waiting for the results of a study before developing a plan to offer services in that area.
"We are waiting to hear the results of the Institute of Museum and Library Services/Battelle Study which is testing the length of time the virus remains active on surfaces including microfilm and fiche, and fragile historic papers as well as how best to sanitize them," stated Polott.
Polott said she and her staff are working on the plans for the next phase of reopening.
"We will continue to notify the community as these plans become finalized," she said.
Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, email@example.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.