Handley Regional Library System announced their Phase Three opening plans in accordance with Governor Ralph Northam’s directive to the Commonwealth. The library system will reopen at 10AM on Wednesday, July 8th with limited services and adjusted public hours and building occupancy outlined below. Curbside pick-up service will discontinue on the same date so library staff can carefully adjust and fully focus on serving patrons inside the building following social distancing and other safety guidelines. Patrons will be asked to limit their time inside the building to one hour. Face masks will be required to be worn by all library personnel and patrons inside the buildings for the safety of everyone due to the Governor’s Executive Order 63 and the risks associated with the spread of COVID-19. Upon entering the buildings to enjoy library services, patrons will immediately notice additional safety measures including the installation of plexiglass counter shields at all service counters, “stand here” floor decals, directional floor signage, rearranged furniture to ensure social distancing, and reoccurring cleaning and sanitization of materials, surfaces, and other areas accessed by both staff and public. Additional staff will also be present at all building entrances and throughout the libraries to help with new procedures, individual library service, and additional precautions to help ensure the safety of staff and the community. Patrons will be able to continue to check-out all physical items previously available at curbside and reserve these materials as normal online or by contacting their local branch. Items can be returned outside the building at the kiosks and inside at the designated areas. Returned items will continue to be quarantined for 72 hours and sanitized before returning to the shelves.
“We are all excited, and I know our patrons have been looking forward to this as well, to restore some level of in-person library services to the community,” says John Huddy, Director of Handley Regional Library System. “When you are serving the public, handling thousands of physical materials, and managing building operations and complex physical facilities, the reopening process can become very complicated. Safety is the most critical factor here. Guidance and expertise from our Library Board, management staff, and committees have all performed a critical service to help make this happen. We also appreciate the public’s patience during this time as we restore library service in varying stages – from enhancing the Digital Library, opening up book returns, and curbside service. We look forward to welcoming the community back into our buildings as they are comfortable and to the day when we can restore full operations safely.”
The library system reports that safety, sanitization, and facility adjustments have been made based on recommendations from the Lord Fairfax Health District, Valley Health, the CDC, the Virginia Governor’s Office, and recommended best practices of other libraries and the American Library Association. “We were all on strategy calls, training sessions, and forums with health officials, local nonprofits and organizations, and other libraries sharing ideas, challenges, and realities with a goal to reopen safely,” adds Matt Swain, Public Relations Manager for Handley Regional Library System.
Adjusted Public Access Hours for Library Buildings
Due to the increased time needed for specialized, one-on-one patron service and the additional cleaning and sanitizing of all public and staff space and equipment, all library building hours will be adjusted as follows to meet this need:
·Monday – Thursday 10AM-6PM
The following library services will be fully accessible to the public at all three library locations:
·Self-Checkout and Returns of Physical Materials
·Self-Service Holds/Material Pick-up Inside the Buildings
·Print / Copy / Scan / Fax Services
·Public Wi-Fi Access
The following library services will be available in alimited servicecapacity to the public at all three library locations:
·Public Computers: a reduced number of public computers will be available by appointment only and limited to one 45-minute session per day/per-patron.
·Public Notary by appointment only
·In-person Stewart Bell Jr. Archival research services will be available by appointment only.
·All programs for kids, teens, and adults, including programs sponsored by the Friends of the Handley Regional Library System will continue to be enjoyed virtually.
The following library serviceswill not be availableat all three library locations to reduce the spread of COVID-19:
·Study Rooms & Meeting Rooms
·Various common gathering areas and some furniture
·All in-person programs for adults, kids, and teens, including programs sponsored by the Friends of the Handley Regional Library System
·Children’s educational computers, toys, puzzles, and interactives
·Donations of books and media materials
·Library shop / Second Glance Books
Adjusted Operating Hours and Services for The Stewart Bell Jr. Archives
·Research hours are adjusted to the same as the library buildings: Monday – Thursday 10AM-6PM, Friday 10AM-5PM, Saturday 10AM-2PM
·Appointments will be required for patrons to enter the archives department in situations where research cannot be completed online by the patron or by archives staff
Policy Statement Regarding the Use of Face Masks Inside the Buildings
Handley Regional Library System is recognized as a public space providing fair and equal access to information and entertainment to everyone. To this end, and to reduce the spread of COVID-19 for the safety of our exceptional library staff and patrons, including those most vulnerable, staff will be wearing face masks and patrons are required to wear masks inside the buildings following the order from the Governor.
About Handley Regional Library System
Handley Regional Library System aspires to be the center of information and learning. Our mission is to provide access to outstanding information, resources, programs and services to enrich our diverse community. With a rich history, Handley Regional Library System serves patrons at Bowman Library (Stephens City, VA), Clarke County Library (Berryville, VA) and Handley Library and the Stewart Bell Jr. Archives (Winchester, VA), plus 24-hours a day through our online digital library. Explore more atwww.handleyregional.org.