Sadly, we are still a long way from opening. As soon as we have any information on when and how we will open, we will certainly let you know.
When a county or region is changes from red to yellow, we anticipate that this will be a signal that library staff may reenter the building to begin preparing the staff, collections and facility for a return to service.
Once those preparations are complete, we expect that libraries in yellow areas will provide limited public services (such as pickup service) provided they adhere to state and federal guidelines, as well as guidelines that will be available later in May in the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s (PDE) Framework for Reopening Libraries.
To support libraries with reopening plans, PDE has drafted a Framework for Reopening Libraries that is based on the Governor’s three-phase commonwealth reopening matrix. Using input from district consultants, feedback from district library center leaders, and comments from Pennsylvania Library Association open forums, the framework lists guidelines libraries must abide by to ensure the community’s health and safety. In addition, it also identifies issues that each library may need to consider before reopening. Currently, the Framework for Reopening Libraries is under review in PDE and will also need to be approved by the Department of Health (DOH).
Libraries must also order (if supplies can be found): masks; cleaning and disinfecting supplies; hand sanitizer for staff and the public; sneeze shields made out of non-porous materials such as plexiglass, plastic, glass, etc.; tissues, gloves; thermometers.
Reopening as part of a system of connected libraries is also complicated by the way libraries share material. Despite the fact that libraries are independent non-profit organizations, they work work together in many ways. The public libraries of Lancaster County share a unified catalog and have devised a delivery system to allow items to easily move between libraries. Currently, library materials are not where they belong, and the cataloging software we rely on to show us where our things are is not functioning the way it is intended. It was never supposed to “shut down.” It has to be reset and restarted in a step by step manner to avoid losing more information and data.
There is so much that needs to go into opening to the public so that everyone is safe, and we appreciate your patience and understanding as we work to follow the guidelines set in place.