We are very much looking forward to bringing back more services to you! As I mentioned in my most recent blog post on May 1, there are many factors to consider when bringing back services to a particular location while we are still experiencing the pandemic. Not the least of these factors is the availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) and the capacity of our staff. Like many other organizations, we are facing a significant and unanticipated budget shortfall, and last month we announced that we had to make the difficult decision to reduce the hours of about half our staff and furlough about 100 of our staff.   

Despite our staffing challenges, we are now moving to the next tier of our recovery plan, and we’re bringing back some in-person, but contactless, services. These will come back to our locations in phases: 

  • Drive-thru service: As we shared on the blog earlier this month, drive-thrus will reopen on May 26, along with curbside service at Symmes. 
  • Curbside service will also begin at these locations: 
    • May 28: Blue Ash and Loveland 
      • Mon. - Tues., 10:00 am – 9:00 pm  
      • Wed. - Sat. 10:00 am - 6:00 pm 
    • June 1: Anderson, Clifton, Green Township, North Central, Walnut Hills 
      • Mon., Tues., Thurs. Noon to 8:00 pm 
      • Wed., Fri., Sat. 10:00 am to 6:00 pm 

Many of our remaining locations will begin providing curbside service later in June and throughout the summer, with the possible exception of a couple of facilities where we may need to do further review and work related to air flow/quality.  We have not yet determined additional specific dates, but will share those as soon as we are able. 

We have spoken with representatives from the Hamilton County Public Health Department about our plan for phasing services in, and they supported our approach and acknowledged that it was comparable with what many other organizations are doing. Our phased plan is also very similar to the approach other large public library systems in Ohio have taken. 

Our plans are evolving rapidly as we learn more about the virus and about plans from the state, county and city for maintaining public health. We anticipate that in June we will also begin providing access to computers and other technology at select locations that are most ideal for physical distancing and supporting enhanced safety protocols.  Like our curbside service, we will start by piloting this at a few locations to ensure a safe and positive customer experience. These plans are not yet finalized, but rest assured we are focused on the importance of technology access for our customers and we will share concrete plans with the public as soon as we’re able.  

I know this is a lot of information and there will be more to come.  For weeks we have been researching best practices from a variety of industries and other large libraries across the state and country, documenting these practices and creating our own Recovery Plan that will guide our work as we restart library service safely and effectively.  A high-level review of this phased plan provides an overview of what to expect in the coming weeks and months.   

There is a lot of thought and consideration involved in all that we are doing and I would like to take a moment to thank all of you for your patience and support as we develop new processes to provide services to you in a way that minimizes health risks for you and for our staff. We know you love your library and we look forward to bringing back more services to you very soon! 

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