I think that there are many situations (not in Southern Maine) where small libraries and a variety of small businesses could operate in some fashion at least as safely as the essential businesses are now. And I think that is where the conflict arises. We all have observed some essential businesses open because they can be that don't feel or look essential and aren't operating very safely.
The impulse to serve the public is pretty strong amongst us but whether we go in as a sector or not, the State has extended the stay at home order. This month is a good time to write the plan and get the PPE lined up and get ready to open. I think the issue of patron trust is important. Starting to offer service before "our time" creates its own set of conflicts.
At some point we are all going to have to use our own judgement for ourselves about risk. A parent of a teen was telling me the other day that she allows her son to have friends over for campfires with distancing and feels a little defensive about it. I said they are safer at this campfire than they are driving to school in their cars!
I feel for you about being part of a sector with a long checklist. Enforcement of all but egregious flaunting of the reality of the pandemic will be beyond the means of any entity. I think a small library will be able to quietly follow its own path if it is well-timed and well-planned.
Karen McCarthy Eger
South Berwick Public Library
27 Young Street
South Berwick, ME 03908
Hours vary during the covid-19 health emergency
From: Maine Libraries Discussion List <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Chase Emerson <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, April 30, 2020 7:53 AM
To: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: [MELIBS-L] small rural library conversation?
Good Morning Everyone,
I'm very grateful for the information in yesterday's MSL meeting, and so
appreciate the MSL's willingness to keep us all in the loop!
I'm going to try and just stick to the fact in an effort to stay respectful
of your limited time.
My library is in a small town in Hancock County, I'm the only employee and
rarely have more than 10 people in the building at at time (except July and
Aug, but we'll be into phase 3 by then). We are open 17 hrs/wk.
I need to address my Board with options re moving forward.
They have proven to be very conservative in response to the virus.
Most are at high-risk and some are very emotional around this topic.
Some community members are wondering why we haven't been offering
curbside/delivery service, and will not understand us staying closed after
May 1. Some Board members believe no one should leave their home until a
vaccine is created. Now that things are moving towards opening up, I find
walking the line of respecting the individual responses to this situation
is getting tricky. I don't need to stay open to ensure my income, this is
about serving our patrons. People can get their hair done and buy cars, but
the fixed income elderly that rely on library books and can't access
digital titles have to wait. I am not in a high risk category, and count
myself among those that are less risk averse. (I am not judging ANYONE'S
response. We are individuals and get to react and process as such. I just
wanted to express my viewpoint b/c it impacts the situation.) I have
concerns about libraries having their own sector in the DECD plan unless
there is recognition of the vast differences among us.
Here are the factors that I'm considering--
I can quarantine books the 72 hrs that the CDC is recommending.
I could open with controls to keep the total # in the bldg appropriate to
I could offer delivery or curbside service that keeps risk at a minimum.
I'd sure love to hear what the rest of you are thinking or planning.
Any tips for navigating with BOTs over this emotional topic would also be
Thanks for any input you have time to give!
*Chase Emerson Memorial Library*
*17 Main St., P.O. Box 9*
*Deer Isle, ME 04627*