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.