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Editorial

Warren County-Vicksburg Public Library open with COVID-19 precautions

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Warren County Vicksburg Public Library

By Randy Sherard, Warren County-Vicksburg Public Library Board  Attorney  

The Warren County-Vicksburg Public Library is open to the residents of  our community and we encourage our patrons to utilize our services: Phase I  Curbside Service (initiated June 2020) and Phase II In-Person Services (initiated  October 2020). The Public Library board of trustees instructed Library Director,  Katrina Stokes, to consult the current guidelines recommended by the Mississippi  Library Commission (MLC), the American Library Association (ALA), the Institute  of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the Centers for Disease Control and the  State Department of Health and recommend a policy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic which would enable us to provide services responsibly and safely  for both the community and staff. Ms. Stokes provided the Trustees with a plan  to slowly increase (or scale back) services in response to the current infection rate. The Trustees approved Phase I in May 2020 and Phase II in September  2020. 

Currently, the Library offers two choices for library services. Phase I  Curbside Service allows patrons to request a maximum of five items by either  telephone (601-636-6411) or by email ([email protected]).  Patrons can access our catalog remotely at https://wcvpl.biblionix.com. If you  are unable to access our catalog, library staff members are happy to help our  patrons select new materials based on their preferences. Our staff will gather the  items, call the patron to arrange a pickup time and deliver the items to the  patron’s vehicle. Phase I Curbside Service is available from 9 a.m.-6:45 p.m.  Monday – Thursday and 9 a.m. — 4:45 p.m. Friday. 

Phase II In-Person Service allows patrons to call the library (601-636- 6411) to request a scheduled time to browse the library for books or use the  public computers (three available due to spacing requirements). Appointments  are scheduled for 30-minute segments beginning on the hour and half-hour and  the number of patrons in the library at one time is limited to 10. Patrons age two  and older are required to wear masks covering mouth and nose. Patrons must  also remain six feet apart from staff and other patrons. Children under 12 with an  accompanying adult are counted as one.  

The outside book drop is now open. We ask patrons to return their books  in the book drop before entering the Library. Audiobooks, DVDs and other  audiovisual items must be returned inside the Library. Library staff quarantine all  returned items for one week before re-shelving them (IMLS recommendation).  The hours for Phase II In-Person Service are 9 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The Warren County Maintenance Department installed sneeze guards around the public desks to protect both patrons and staff. Due to the  unavailability of custodial maintenance to sanitize during open hours, the  restrooms will remain closed. 

Our goal during the COVID-19 pandemic is to offer safe and responsible  services. We are fortunate our Library only had to close for COVID-19 exposure  twice: the first time due to a patron testing positive for the virus and the second  time when a staff member fell ill with COVID-19. As the number of cases  continues to decline, our staff becomes fully immunized, and conditions warrant,  we look forward to further expanding services available to the public in  accordance with Mississippi Library Association recommendations. The safety of all is of the highest importance. The board of trustees and library staff request your patience as COVID-19 cases hopefully continue to decline.

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