The Southborough Library announced that it is cautiously beginning to reopen doors to the public. Starting today, patrons are invited to make appointments to to browse the Library’s collections in person. The appointments are limited.
Here is the announcement with details on making an appointment:
The staff of the Southborough Library is excited to welcome back patrons into the Southborough Library building on a limited basis. Beginning on Tuesday, May 4th, library users may schedule times to browse mid-week in the afternoon. To best serve the public, the following criteria at the library must be observed:
-Face Masks are Required at all times
-Users must sanitize or wash hands upon entry
-Social Distancing of 6 feet apart
-Appointment Times will be limited to 30 minutes
-Patrons must Sign In upon Entry
Initial appointment times will be at 4:00 PM, 4:30 PM, or 5:00 PM on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
To book an appointment to browse upstairs in the Adult Stacks area, please call Ryan Donovan at 508-485-5031.
To book an appointment to browse downstairs in the Children’s Room, please call Kim Ivers at 508-281-8989.
Browsing appointments must be made over the phone.
Library Curbside Service will continue outside the library building through May 2021.
This is the first step toward an eventual full reopening at some time in the near future. Stay tuned and stay subscribed!
For those who have wondered about the Library’s lengthy closure, and this phased approach, there are a few factors I learned this spring worth noting.
Once the Library Trustees began considering a limited reopening this spring, there was a holdup due to renovation work. The reconstruction of the building’s facade required a longer closure of the main doors facing Main Street than anticipated. While that exit was inaccessible, the Fire Chief wasn’t comfortable allowing public access. With work no longer blocking that egress, the Library got a green light to proceed.
Limiting outside contact during the phased reopening is important not just for staff safety (though that is a critical element for Trustees). Another factor is that if Library staff is contact traced as exposed to someone with Covid-19, the Library will have to shut down to quarantine. That would shut down the popular curbside pickup service as well.
The popularity of curbside pickup is another reason that in the phased reopening there are initially so few appointment slots available. Running the service is much more time intensive for staff than the normal checkout procedure.
As for the next stage in the phase plan, I don’t have an official timeline yet. I do know that Trustees hope that by early summer all Library staff will have had the chance to be fully vaccinated, and more of the public has as well. That will allow them to feel comfortable increasing public access to the Library’s resources. They should also be able to increase the number of in-person programs, but will likely hold them outdoors, at least through the summer.