Early Masked Hour Pilot Begins March 14

On Monday, March 14, we will begin a 3 month pilot project in which we will open the main part of the library from 8AM – 9AM, Monday – Friday. During this extra hour of time customers will be required to wear a mask.

This extra hour of service time was created for two main reasons. The first reason is to provide some time during the week in which we require masks for everyone in the public space. We have had requests from members of the public for such a time. Opening early Monday – Friday allows us to do this at consistent times and without adding this restriction into our regular hours.

We have also had many requests over the years to have earlier hours for customers who wish to pick something up on their way to work, or who just want to use the library before 9AM. This time will be available for anyone to come into the main part of the library, provided they wear a mask. If someone is here before 9AM but doesn’t want to wear a mask, they can wait in the rotunda or any other area south of the Circulation Plaza.

During the extra hour we’re open, we will have a security staff member in the Circulation Plaza letting customers know that they need to wear a mask until at least 9AM. We’ll also have two Public Services staff members in the main section of the library to help oversee everything and answer questions.

This time will be considered a self-service time. Staff will be available to help people get started and answer basic questions, but more in-depth questions or extended one-on-one help with computers will need to wait until 9AM. The Gallery, the Topeka Room, and the cafe passthrough will not open until 9AM.

We will evaluate this after 90 days and determine whether to continue or end this service. A big thanks to the staff in Public Services and Security who will be working the floor at this time and making it possible.

8 thoughts on “Early Masked Hour Pilot Begins March 14

  1. Kimberly Sain on said:

    Thank you for the update. This sounds fine, except there’s always someone unmasked in the rotunda in the a.m. when I walk thru, and I’m thinking the sign-up lines for VITA service (Tues and Thurs–doors open at 7am with sign-up starting at 7:30am) will include unmasked people as well. So, since people have to walk thru the rotunda to get to the main library, they’re walking thru an unmasked zone to get to a masked area when they think this period is for masked people. Is that sort of part of the pilot–to see if there are concerns expressed before asking people to mask-up in the rotunda during the 7-9am period? Hope this makes sense as I’m working in Media while typing.. Thanks!

    • Thad Hartman on said:

      That makes perfect sense. I think this is one of the things we’ll be evaluating during the pilot process. I’m hopeful some of those regulars who are waiting in the rotunda will be willing to wear a mask to go in early and reduce the number of people they’d have to walk through to get into the library. Thanks!

  2. Dawn Stone on said:

    I think it would make more sense to kindly ask anyone in the building before 9:00 to wear a mask that we can provide for them. If appointment times are being made for VITA, we can tell customers that the early slots will require a mask. If we explain why, most people will understand. My best friend is immune compromised and she won’t be able to come inside the building if she’s going to have to walk through a swath of unmasked people. She’s been using curbside pickup, but would really like to be able to come in and browse.

    • Thad Hartman on said:

      We’ll be reviewing this issue further to see if we need to make a change ahead of time or evaluate after implementation. We’ll alert if there is a change. Thanks.

  3. Katie Simmons on said:

    Will this give the morning custodial staff enough time to get everything vacuumed and/or otherwise cleaned? Or will the people coming in be expected to browse around the cleaning?

    • Thad Hartman on said:

      We are not changing any other schedules, so there is a chance there will be cleaning, shelving, and other tasks going on during this time. Thanks.

  4. Lynn Shirley on said:

    I was wondering about the customer service desk. Are we going to be checking accounts, helping with copies, giving cards etc. What about counting the drawer? We usually don’t do that with customers at the desk. We are not there at 8:00.

    • Thad Hartman on said:

      Nothing will change at the customer service desk. Staff will not be there to help with account information. Of course if a staff member happens to be at the desk before 9AM getting ready and someone asks a question, I would expect it will be answered. Currently there is access to the circulation desk from the rotunda side, so customers can do that now. Money will still be able to be counted at the desk before 9AM. We will have security in the area. Thanks.