Library Buzz for July 1 Edition

Botetourt County Libraries will enter the next phase of reopening soon, which means opening our doors to let patrons inside. We’re very excited to see people in our buildings again!

In order to stay open, we will need your help. The Libraries will look, feel and work differently for a while. Hopefully, the extra precautions we take will reduce the chance of closing again later. Let’s take a look at how the Libraries might function in this next phase.

First, only a limited number of people can come into the building. The actual number may vary by branch, and it also depends on what you want to do while inside. Bear in mind that if you come at a “peak” time, you may need to wait your turn to get in.

Next, you may need to make an appointment to visit the library or to reserve a place at public computers. Our goal is to take walk-ins, but we may need to require appointments. In any case, it’s helpful to make an appointment if you want to guarantee a spot rather than hope there’s room when you arrive.

As with many other indoor spaces, you must wear a face covering to enter the library. Grab a bandana or homemade mask before you leave the house so you’ll be prepared! We will have a limited number of disposable masks if you forgot yours, but we may not have many so please bring your own.

To further protect yourself and others, stay 6 feet away from other patrons and library staff when possible. You’ll notice that the furniture may be rearranged or even missing as we try to allow for physical distancing. We may have one-way stacks, and children’s toys and play spaces will not be available for a while.

Librarians are still happy to see you and eager to help, but we have to get creative about doing so safely. You’ll notice transparent screens in front of service desks. If you need help using a public computer, a librarian can access your computer and offer help remotely from their station.

Under normal circumstances, we encourage people to “sit and stay a while.” People love to read, study, chat and otherwise enjoy the library atmosphere. However, safety precautions mean that for now at least, you can’t linger in library spaces like you used to. We’re happy to help you find what you need so you can take it home to enjoy. Or pick up the phone and catch up with the librarians you know well. It’s not quite the same, but for the time being, we’re putting safety above pleasure.

Finally, expect the unexpected. While we carefully plan ahead, we can’t predict everything. That means that we may make changes overnight when necessary. This situation is new to all of us, and we’re figuring it out as we go. We appreciate your patience as we try to open as many services as possible while doing so in a responsible, safety-conscious manner. See you soon!

-Julie Phillips

Botetourt County Libraries

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