Staff Talking Points for Nov 16, 2020 Changes

Hello everyone–Happy Saturday!

The COVID Team and C&M staff have developed the communication plan to address the operational changes that will occur on Monday. The plan includes key information and message with our local media, on the website, our social media and direct email to our customers. Some of the information is already out (local media and webpage) and additional tactics will be in place by Monday. There will also be changes to digital monitors and signs.

Because you are the first point of contact for many of our customers, we hope that you will feel confident in explaining that we are taking these measures to keep the library open and to keep everyone as safe as possible. We know that our customers are dealing with many of the same stressors that we are experiencing and that we have to do our best to care about each other. Please use this post for sharing ideas that could help you through this change. If you have ideas to suggest, please comment on this post.

Talking Points

How is the library shortened hours helping reduce the spread of COVID-19?
Reducing the hours reduces the amount of time and the number of people staff and customers will interact with. This helps increase all of our safety while still allowing some normal and needed library activity.

Why can’t I be in a team room with my children?
[What do we tell people if they come in with a small child to use a computer?] Limiting team rooms to individual users helps mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Also, library staff cannot determine if people are related or make distinctions by age. For instance, an adult may visit with a child of any age and claim to be related. They may or may not be isolated together. If they aren’t, that puts others, including staff, at risk. We will not conduct intrusive interviews to determine that. In this case, there is one rule for everyone. We apologize for the inconvenience, but one person per room is the rule.

My group is smaller than 10 people why can’t we use a meeting room?
The Shawnee County Health Department has identified group gatherings (small and large) as the biggest risk factor for COVID-19 transmission. The library closed meeting rooms to help mitigate the spread of the disease.

Why is the library still open with COVID-19 in the uncontrolled zone?
The library is following state and local guidelines for activity and following all safety procedures. We are remaining open to serve people who need the library as a safe place to learn, conduct personal business and access books. Many people in our community do not have access to the internet and need the library. The library has ceased all programming or services that require people to gather. Individuals are encouraged to use the library. This is not the appropriate time for groups of people to visit or use library services. We understand that children will be accompanying their parents. Those visits should adhere to all current rules including not congregating at computer stations or in the Team rooms. We understand this is frustrating. We dislike having to enforce these restrictions, but we don’t want people to get sick at the library.

When will the library be back to normal activity?
Our current hours and closure of meeting rooms are tentatively scheduled to be in place through January 4, 2021. However, this may change depending on guidance by the Shawnee County Health Department. Library leadership is monitoring public health information and is ready to respond to any changes.

Focus on what is important to the customer
As you always do, focus on and listen to the customer’s needs first and take the opportunity to share how they can use the library. The digital branch is always open, WiFi in the parking lot has been improved and the signal should be good if they park in the spaces near the front and west side of the building. (Hopefully, they won’t try parking on the sidewalk this time!) Ask-a-Librarian services are operating by our normal open hours, so letting them know that they can reach someone at the library after the building is closed is something they may appreciate. Several of our staff are developing one-to-one appointments by Zoom or a phone call, so this is another option you can share with your customers.

Thank you for all that you are doing!

8 thoughts on “Staff Talking Points for Nov 16, 2020 Changes

  1. Sherry Best on said:

    If parents come with kids who need wifi for school, do we direct them to use the wifi in the parking lot from their vehicle? Have we had as much demand for that?

  2. Sherry Best on said:

    If a parent has kids with them and wants to use a computer, is there a way to let them do that?

  3. Diana Friend on said:

    Hi Sherry, we actually talked about what to do with adults accompanied by a small child or children who want to use a computer and we are allowing one person per computer station. If they have children who also want to use a computer, then they should be directed to the Kids Library where they can sit closer together. If the child (not children) is young, they could be allowed to sit on the floor next to the adult.

    If someone comes in to use the WiFi while the building is open, then they are welcome to do that, but its one person per 6-ft distancing. See Gina’s replies in

    Using the parking lot is an option if they have several kids with them or beyond library building hours.

    • Angie Reed on said:

      In regards to a child accompanying their adult and sitting on the floor- does this impact the six feet that other patrons need? Should we assign any adults accompanied by a child who’ll sit on the floor to the Youth Services section where the computers have more space?

  4. Diana Friend on said:

    Hi Angie,
    Yes, directing them to the Kids library is what the COVID team is recommending.

  5. Michelle Stottlemire on said:

    Not sure where to put this request, but our Team Room pod has noticed repeated issues with the following situations and wondered if new signage in/around the team rooms could help.

    1. Masks must remain on while in the Team Room (previous signage about this is missing from several rooms).
    2. Air purifiers should remain on (patrons are turning them off instead of turning them down).
    3. No food allowed (people are eating snacks while in the rooms).

    Thank you!

  6. Michelle Stottlemire on said:

    Here’s an outside-the-box approach that I used yesterday when a small group of high school students came in to work on a group project. Since they couldn’t work together in the flesh, I assigned each of them to a Team Room (we had more than enough available) and they Zoomed from their individual rooms. They were able to get their work done while social distancing. If space is available it is an approach to consider when pairs or groups are needing to meet.

    • Gina Millsap on said:

      This is a great solution, Michelle! Providing a workable alternative is creative and it works, as you saw. And it came from someone (you) that was right there and understood the problems and the possibilities. Well done.