Each Vermont public library has the power to make decisions on if and how to provide services for its local community under the advisement of the library board and stakeholders such as the municipality and community leaders, if applicable. Libraries should weigh the potential vulnerability of members of their library community, staff, and participating volunteers when deciding how to proceed. All libraries should adhere to the orders put forth by the Governor of Vermont.
As of June 14, 2021, more than 80% of eligible Vermonters have received at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and Governor Phil Scott has authorized the move to Step 4 of the Vermont Forward Plan, lifting business, gathering, and travel related restrictions, nearly two weeks ahead of schedule.
VTLIB offers the following guidelines for curbside or book delivery services:
- Review the IMLS webinar recording Mitigating COVID-19 When Managing Paper-Based, Circulating, and Other Types of Collections which outlines safe materials handling and environmental maintenance.
- Ensure that work can be completed while maintaining distance, and shared spaces and equipment are regularly cleaned and disinfected.
- Place items in an area where patrons can retrieve them themselves.
- If you are making materials available for patron self-service, make access as easy as possible to encourage swift pickup and flow.
- Post signage (and if possible, visual cues on the ground) about distancing, personal interaction, and mask wearing protocols prominently in your entire pickup area.
- If you have patrons come into any part of your building for pickup (e.g. a vestibule), provide clear instructions to guide them on how to maintain social distancing while entering that part of the building. Consider propping doors open to minimize contact.
To encourage swift transaction flow and to cut down on face-to-face interactions:
- Provide clear information on available services and service limitations, as well as detailed instructions on pickup procedures before patrons arrive, and
- Post clear signage at your pickup location.
- Develop a protocol that ensures safe handling of any returned materials. Use materials handling guidance provided by the REALM Project (OCLC/IMLS/Batelle), IMLS, the CDC and other reputable sources (refer to the bibliography included in these guidelines).
Libraries continue to be encouraged to develop their own policies and procedures that take into account feedback from their stakeholders and library board as well as any potential vulnerability of members of their library community, staff, and participating volunteers. With encouragement from Dr. Kelso, state epidemiologist, we are sharing the AOE and VDH joint guidance on book quarantining in schools in their publication A STRONG AND HEALTHY START Safety and Health Guidance for Reopening Schools, Fall 2020. On page 24, they state that “Library books may be used immediately upon return, without removing from circulation.” Libraries should weigh the potential vulnerability of members of their library community, staff, and participating volunteers when deciding how to proceed.
Follow Vermont Department of Health and CDC guidelines on hand and face hygiene, as well as coughing and sneezing etiquette. Familiarize yourself with proper mask and glove protocols. Limit your activities to a single task while wearing gloves (e.g. don’t check your phone while handling books).
- If you are considering home delivery, make sure you can adhere to the health and safety requirements while doing so. Also make sure you have the appropriate liability coverage. Connect with your municipality, library board, or insurance company to address this question.
- Evaluate your protocols frequently and adjust as necessary. Stay abreast of any new information and guidance regarding materials handling, physical space, etc. and adjust accordingly.
For questions, please contact your State Library Consultant or an Assistant State Librarian. https://libraries.vermont.gov/contact_us/directory
- State of Vermont Response to COVID-19
- State of Vermont Department of Health COVID-19 Information
- Bibliography for curbside delivery information