Phase 5 opening plan begins April 26, 2021

Good afternoon everyone,

We will be moving into our next phase beginning Monday April 26, 2021.   

 The decision to move to the next phase was informed by a few factors. 

  1. We have made it a point beginning in March 2020 to follow the Shawnee County Health Department (SCHD) recommendations.  The most recent recommendations were issued April 20th.  They supersede all other SCHD recommendations.  These recommendations have informed our guidelines.  
  2. All staff have had an opportunity to get their shots and a large percentage are beyond the 2-week fully vaccinated time frame.

We are moving to a 50% occupancy limit.  We have not met the 50% limit since our initial closing. This means we are not limiting the number of people in the building currently.  The Security staff will tally people as they come in or leave the building to insure our building capacity limit. 

Face Masks and Face Coverings will continue to be required when using the library and we will continue to encourage social distancing.  

The SCHD has expanded their definition of face coverings to include:  

“Face Mask or Other Face Covering” means a covering of the nose and mouth secured to the head with ties, straps, loops over the ears, or wrapped around the lower face from the nose down. It can be made of synthetic and natural materials including cotton, silk, linen, fleece or paper, and contain multiple layers. It can be factory made or made from household items. The definition includes a clear plastic face shield that covers the forehead, extends below the chin, and wraps around the sides of the face.  

 This means that customers can use face shields and gaiters again.  Staff are required to continue to use face masks.   

 The SCHD has included the following exemption: 

Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a Face Mask or Other Face Covering, including but not limited to persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a Face Mask or Other Face Covering could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance. 

 Procedure for Handling these needs:
When the customer comes into the library, the Greeter will welcome them and if they are not wearing a mask, offer one.   

If the customer indicates they have a medical condition, mental health condition or disability please do the following steps: 

  1. Offer the customer a face shield. 
  2. If they are not able to use one, request that they wear this sticker while in the library.  Let them know that this way staff working in other areas of the library will know that they have an exemption to the face mask requirement.  (We will have stickers at the Greeter station by 9:00 am on Monday)

Meeting rooms
Beginning May 1st, the Auditorium is back available for meetings.  Customers will be able to start booking rooms again on that date.  Customers in meeting rooms (Auditorium and Meeting rooms upstairs) can also bring food purchased from the Millennium Café.   

 Collection and Circulation updates 

  • Effective April 26th, we will no longer quarantine materials when returned.  
  • Item renewals are returning to 3 renewals and items that are on a hold list will not renew.
  • Customers will begin to receive overdue and late notices.
  • We are continuing to have no fees for items that are overdue.
  • There will no longer be a charge for ILL item requests.
    Please refer to Kelli’s email for more details about how we are handling fees and fines.  

 Collection Browsing 

  • Customers do not have a time limit to browse and spend time in the library.  
  • Express Collections will be moved to the Plaza and will no longer be used to fill reserves.
  • Book displays are available once again in the Plaza.
  • Newspapers and magazines will no longer go into quarantine.  A cart will still be available for customers to leave magazines or newspapers if they choose to have us shelve them.  
  • Staff are available to help customers locate materials that are on the main floor.  Staff will still not go downstairs or across the street to retrieve items at this time. 

Library Spaces 

  • Additional chairs will be added to the tables in the Teamwork area, Youth Services and Media room.  
  • Customers can move chairs, but not tables. Groups can sit together but they cannot infringe on the space of other customers or groups. 
  • Customers and staff are not permitted to eat or drink while in the public floors of the library at this time.

 Computer usage 

  • Computers are redeployed to the Media, Youth Services, David J’s and Wings.  They still are 6 feet apart.  It is no longer one computer, one person.  We will limit this based on the number of chairs available. 
  • Customers will sign up to use a computer at the computer station like we did before the pandemic.  They no longer need to sign up at Customer Service 
  • Customers will have 2 hours/day for computer use.
  • Customers who need guest passes will sign up for them at the Customer Service desk and will sign the guest pass list as we have been doing since we reopened in January.
  • Printing continues to be 25 free black and white prints/daily.  Additional prints are $.10/page.  This is for the computer printers.  We do not currently offer color prints.  The copy machine copies are $.10/page for black and white copies.
  • Staff are available to help customers from a social distance if there are computer questions. (6 feet and masked)

 Team Rooms 

  • Customers can reserve a Team Room on the webpage- or at the iPad next to each room. 
  • At this time rooms can accommodate up to 4 people.  We are allowing the number of people in the Team room as the number of chairs.  
  • Customers need a library card to use a Team Room.

 Staff Service points 

  • Greeter station
  • Customer Service desk
  • Media 
  • Teamwork Center
  • Youth Services
  • Gallery

 Other Service areas 

  • Topeka Room will remain an appointment only service area.  Additional appointment slots are being added.
  • Notary will remain an appointment only service.  
  • The Edge will remain closed at this time. 

 Staff spaces  

  • We are no longer restricting staff from using their work desk.  Previously we had limited the number of people in each area and we are removing that limitation.  Staff who prefer to continue to use a computer station upstairs in the Old Tech Services area are still welcome to do so if one is available.
  • Staff cannot use their work desk to eat lunch because this would require a removal of your mask. 
  • Staff can use the Break rooms, the Public Services conference room, the Hughes and Perkins rooms for lunch or breaks.

 Finally, thank you everyone for your continued hard work to provide excellent service to our customers.  We are moving forward in a slow and steady pace and we can only do this because everyone is doing their part. 

I also want to make sure to recognize the Reopening team and Covid 19 Response team who has continued to work diligently through each phase and helped to determine the procedures and processes.

Reopening Team

Autumn Friedli

Brian Mithen

Carrie Cummings

David King

Debbie Stanton

Jesse Maddox

Joey Embers

Karen Watson

Kelli Smith

LeAnn Brungardt

Lissa Staley

Michelle Stottlemire

Patrick Berry

Sandy Hestand

Thad Hartman

Marie Pyko



10 thoughts on “Phase 5 opening plan begins April 26, 2021

  1. Natalie Moreland on said:

    Here is a link to the most recent guidelines from the Shawnee County Health Department, for anyone who would like to read them in full.

    A highlight:

    “All businesses or organizations in Shawnee County should require all employees, customers, visitors, members, or members of the public to wear a Mask or Other Face Covering when:
    • Employees are working in any space visited by customers or members of the public if members of the public or coworkers are present at the time and Social Distancing cannot be achieved.
    • Employees are working in any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution and Social Distancing cannot be achieved.
    • Employees are working in or walking through common areas, such as hallways, stairways or elevators. ”

    So under these guidelines, that means our customers should always be wearing their face masks in the library since everywhere is a “common area”.

  2. Marie Pyko on said:

    Natalie, thanks for adding the link for everyone to read.
    That is how we are following it but will also be following the change in face covering and also the medical condition exception which is part of the health officer recommendations.

  3. Angie Reed on said:

    Marie, is there any more clarification about medical condition exceptions? Can anyone just walk in and say “I can’t wear a mask because of my health” and if they don’t want a face shield, that’s that? What about those that don’t want to wear a mask and don’t offer a reason? Will they be allowed in unmasked?
    I’m not trying to make an argument, I just want to be prepared and give out correct and consistent information.

  4. Debbie Stanton on said:

    Hi Angie,

    Here’s the section on medical conditions:

    A Face Mask or Other Face Covering should not be required for the following individuals:
    • Persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a Face Mask or Other Face Covering, including but not limited to persons with a medical condition for whom wearing a Face Mask or Other Face Covering could obstruct breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance.

    If after offering a mask the person indicates they’re unable to wear a mask due to a medical condition you’d follow the steps listed above. That’s the only exception that will be started on Monday. So if someone says they just don’t want to wear a mask, we’d use the same talking points we have been from previous phases.

  5. Angie Reed on said:

    Hey Debbie-

    I did see that in the original post. I was just wondering if there was anything more specific for greeters to go off of or if it was just anyone claiming to have medically based reasons not to wear one? It feels a tad murky and I just want to make sure we can all have the same understanding of it so we’re not trying to tell people different rules/policies and that we can be on the same page and provide consistency for patrons (and each other).

    So, for clarity, if someone says that they can’t wear a mask for medical reasons, we don’t ask follow up questions aside from offering a face shield? They get a sticker and go on in?

    Thanks for clarifying!

    • Hayley Swisher on said:

      I’m also curious, Angie. Will we require any form of documentation (like a doctor’s note), or just trust their word? Thanks!

  6. Natalie Allen on said:

    I’m curious as well, Angie. We’ve had a lot of people who don’t like to wear masks because of how it affects them wearing their glasses. Would the fact that they wear glasses be considered a medical reason?

  7. Marie Pyko on said:

    We will not require documentation. We are following the wording that Debbie included above. If someone says they have a medical condition then we will offer a face shield. If they are not able to wear a face shield then we will ask them to wear a sticker so we know they have an exemption.

    Also, managers will be available on the floor more the first few days so that we can help everyone work through these changes in our procedures.

    • Debbie Stanton on said:

      One extra thought after talking with a staff person on Saturday — the library staff person shouldn’t be the one introducing the idea of a medical exception to the customer.

      Example of what NOT to do: Customer – “I don’t want to wear a mask.” Staff – “Is that because of a medical issue?”

      Example of what TO do: Customer – “I don’t want to wear a mask.” Staff – “Masks are required at all times in the library.” Customer – “But I can’t wear a mask.” Staff > [follow steps listed above – 1. offer face shield, 2. if can’t wear face shield offer sticker]