COVID-19 Team Report #3

I hope you’re staying healthy and observing recommended social distancing practices. The COVID-19 team and your managers and supervisors are thinking of you and wishing you the best at this time.

I want to update you on what has happened in the past four days and what decisions have been made regarding library operations. Please keep in mind that the situation changes frequently and new information is available on an hourly basis.


Designated staff in Administration, Circulation, Communications and Marketing, Digital Services, Public Services, Technical Services, and Security and Facilities are working either at home, or in the building. Whenever possible, staff are working from home and we are developing a longer term plan for working from home. Your supervisor will contact you if you are needed.


  • Digital and physical library cards are available via online registration. Physical cards will be mailed.
  • Reserves for physical materials have been suspended. Until we know we can safely circulate books and other physical items, we will not be accepting requests or delivering materials. We are working with the Shawnee County Health Department to confirm how to ensure books are virus-free. We are also working on a plan to deploy physical collections with the building closed once we know that we will not facilitate the transmission of the COVID-19 virus through those items.
  • Overdue fines, billing, and notices from Unique, our collection agency, are all suspended.
  • Loan periods have been extended indefinitely. We are encouraging people to keep whatever books, etc. they have until further notice.


Designated public services staff are responding to the public’s information needs by phone and online from home. Communications and marketing staff and other members of the social media team are monitoring and responding to questions and comments on our Facebook page.


Some youth services story tellers are providing terrific online story times, and other staff will shortly be providing classes online. Note this is all available through the library’s YouTube channel. Check out Kyler Carpenter’s Runaway Pancake story time.  Learning experiences manager Stephanie Hall is developing learning activity kits that can be distributed and kept by customers.

Please see below for specific instructions regarding our expectations of staff during this time from Chief of Staff Thad Hartman and Chief of Human Resources Jesse Maddox.

I know these seem like a lot of “do not’s,” but it is important that we be clear about what is expected and to observe all federal laws regarding employees during this time.

  • We have made a change in non-exempt staff being able to check their email. In order to be able to keep staff informed we will be allowing non-exempt staff to check their email once a day Monday through Friday from 4:00pm to 5:00pm. Please do not check emails outside of this time unless you are asked to do so by your supervisor.
  • Please do not perform any work without permission in advance from your supervisor.
  • Please do not come into the library without permission in advance from your supervisor.

We have to assume that the library may be closed significantly longer than the two weeks we’ve stated. We will decide next week if we will be closed for part or all of the month of April and will let you know as soon as that decision is made. I know we would all prefer that life and work resume its normal habits, but based on what is known about the spread of COVID-19, this situation will exist for some time.

Finally, this is a difficult time for us all. Please remember that the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) services are available for you and your family should you need them. Their phone number is (800) 624-5544 and website is They have listed a separate number just for emotional support in dealing with COVID-19 which is (833) 848-1764.

If you have questions or concerns, please direct them to members of the COVID-19 team: Chief of Staff Thad Hartman, Chief of Human Resources Jesse Maddox, Communications and Marketing Director Diana Friend and me.

Take care of yourselves and your families,


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