Lewis & Clark Library Releases Plan for Phased Reopening
January 11, 2021 (Helena, MT)—The Lewis & Clark Library Board approved the proposed reopening plan for the Lewis & Clark Library during their December 2020 meeting. The plan, proposed by staff and Library leadership, is based on information presented by the CDC, Federal and State authorities, and under guidance from the Lewis and Clark Health Department.
“We know that our patrons are anxious to get back to the library, and we are anxious to welcome them back for services, but we have to do so in a manner that is safe for our patrons, staff, and community,” explained Lewis & Clark Library Director John Finn.
The plan, titled the Road to Reopening, is based on a phased approach that allows staff flexibility to move between phases as COVID numbers change in Lewis and Clark County. The Library is currently in Phase II of the Road to Reopening, with non-contact holds pick-up available at all branches and online programing being offered. At this time, there is no in-person browsing at any Branch of the Library. “Staff spent a lot of time researching best practices as well as county statistics to determine when it would be safe to welcome patrons back into the Library.”
Under the guidance of the L&C Health Department, the Library will not move to Phase III, in-person browsing, until Daily New Cases in L&C County are below 25 new cases a day and remain so for two weeks. “A two week benchmark is required before moving between any phase,” explained Finn. “This will hopefully allow us to move to the next Phase without having to revert back to the previous Phase.”
Patrons are required to wear a CDC approved face mask when visiting any branch of the Lewis & Clark Library during all Phases, until the CDC revokes the recommendation. The complete Road to Reopening guide is attached.
While the Library remains closed to in-person browsing, patrons can still place holds on library materials as well as utilize the many online services provided on the Library’s website. For more information, including information on the Road to Reopening, visit http://www.lclibrary.org.
The Lewis & Clark Library, based on guidance from the CDC, Federal and State authorities, and the County Health Board, developed the following Reopening Guidelines:
The Library will use a re-opening plan based on the Daily New Case level of positive COVID-19 cases in Lewis and Clark County, following the guidance of the Lewis and Clark County Health Department. Different levels of service will be available based on the corresponding levels of Daily New Cases. Re-opening to patron browsing in the Library building (Phase III) is not recommended until Daily New Cases in the County drop below 25 new cases a day.
PHASE I –
No in-person services available. All non-essential staff working from home. All essential staff working from home if possible. Patrons can access digital materials including books, magazines, audiobooks, videos, and music through the Library website and corresponding apps for their personal devices. Limited online programming that could include book groups, reading challenges and presentations will be available at this time.
**PHASE II –** (Current phase)
In-person services include: Non contact holds pick-up and limited Bookmobile stops. Patrons can access digital materials including books, magazines, audiobooks, videos, and music through the Library website and corresponding apps for their personal devices. Online programming that could include book groups, reading challenges and presentations will be available at this time.
PHASE III – Daily New Cases in L&C County below 25 new cases a day. A two week benchmark is required before moving between any phase. In-person browsing at library locations, excluding Bookmobile. Limited hours, number of people in buildings at one time, computer usage, and seating. No one-to-one services, no private study rooms or meeting rooms available. Self-check usage is encouraged. Online programming (see Phases I and II) will also be available at this time. Limited, outdoor programs maybe available during this phase.
PHASE IV – Daily New Cases in L&C County below 10 cases a day. A two week benchmark is required before moving between any phase.
In-person browsing at the Main Branch. Less limited hours and numbers than Phase III. Some one-to-one help available. Study rooms remain closed. Based on recommendation by the Board and staff, meeting rooms may be available for limited use at the Main Branch or at the Lincoln Branch. All online Library resources as well as some virtual online programming will be available. Limited in-person programming as well as small attendance, socially distanced hybrid programming held in conjunction with an online virtual program may begin.
PHASE V – Daily New Cases in Lewis and Clark County at Zero cases. A two week benchmark is required before moving between any phase.
Library fully open. Patron services gradually reintroduced until at full capacity. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended masks and social distancing may still be required.
The Library will continue to operate within Phase II until the New Daily Cases in L&C County drop to below 25 new cases a day.
The Board of the Lewis & Clark Library will assess the Library options at every meeting or more frequently as needed. Based on guidance from the Lewis and Clark County Health Department, Trustees and Library staff will continue to determine when community contagion levels make it safe for patrons to return to the Library Branch buildings and/or the Bookmobile.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended face coverings will be required in all Library Branches – regardless of the phase – until those guidelines are revoked.
Staff and Trustees will respect individual privacy. Health issues will be kept private and not be discussed outside necessary communications for staff and patron well-being.