May 18, 2020 10:28 AM

Library updates patrons on plans for reopening

Posted May 18, 2020 10:28 AM

HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Gregg Wamsley with the Hutchinson Public Library told patrons in an email Friday that the Library is preparing for the time when they feel they can reopen. Here are the steps they are taking:

Ordering personal protection and safety equipment

Staff have received masks, and they have ordered plexiglass shields, floor decals, and cordon tape. They are subject to waiting on these shipments before starting construction. They are also purchasing local whenever possible.

Moving and removing furniture

In order to create a safe social distance in seating areas, they must ensure each chair has 36 square feet of space between it and any other chair. Since there are seating areas and computer stations through out the library, that means moving a lot of furniture.

Creating a project timeline

They have drafted a plan of all the things to do and consider before a safe reopen can happen, and they are working on creating a project timeline of when they can reasonably accomplish the tasks. They are also limited by how many staff can be in the building at a time to work on these projects, and continue to serve patrons over the phone and through emails.

Bolstering the digital collection

When the library closed on March 18, the ordering team never stopped working. They transitioned as much work as they could to a home office, and have been ordering new items the entire time. They temporarily changed their ordering strategy to include more e-book titles to meet the sudden and profound demand, and still ordered actual books for when they are able to open again. To see the newest stuff at the library, check out wowbrary. You can also sign up for a weekly email from wowbrary.

Creating more online learning content

Staff are also working hard to create more online learning content. Part of this process has been learning new video tools and presentation strategies. They are also looking at more robust website options to allow for easier ways to add video content, better search options and improved patron experience. Watch for more online learning content in the weeks to come.

They say they aren't ready to safely open the library quite yet, and they don't know when.

Wamsley says, "Know that we are working very hard to get to that day when we do open, and serving you the best that we can is always our priority."