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Since my timeline is mostly full of folks with anxieties about what being open to the public soon will look like, here's what's going on in one public library - mine, which is already open with all of us in the trenches. (thread)
Our library system closed to the public on March 25th. All staff worked from home until April 9th, when the branch began providing curbside pickup of unemployment forms (soon adding food assistance and census forms) with a limited staff.
By the end of April, all staff were working in the branch on a rotating schedule, with the only exceptions for staff who were over 65 or could provide a doctor's certificate stating they had an underlying condition that put them at risk.
On May 4th, we opened for curbside - theoretically only of pickup for holds placed online and drop-off of returns, but patrons are patrons, and in the spirit of customer service we were encouraged to also offer reader's advisory services and choose books for patrons walking up.
We were scheduled for full opening to the public on June 1st, which was delayed due to protests impacting our main branch; even though we weren't open, all staff were called in and we were encouraged to "soft open" by allowing patrons in to use computers when walkups requested.
We opened officially to the public with full access to computers, stacks, and library study spaces on June 8th.

1) Tables were moved 6 feet apart. Staff were told to tell patrons they could not share them except with immediate family. This went about as well as you'd think it would.

2) Study and conference rooms are closed and unavailable.
3) Every other computer has been covered in a notice that it is unavailable to prevent patrons from sitting next to each other. In spite of login software preventing use, patrons have persisted in repeatedly trying to turn on the "extra" computers for use anyway. Staff exhausted.
4) Every other chair and several feet of each couch area were marked off with caution tape to prevent patrons from sitting too close together. Guess how that's going.

5) Patrons are required to wear masks when entering the building. If they don't have one, we provide one.
Of course, there is no way to prevent them from constantly taking them off, pulling them down to expose mouth and nose, and/or wearing hideously dirty ones. All of which they are constantly doing, with staff unable to keep up with asking them to stop and/or dealing with tantrums.
6) Patrons are also required to sanitize their hands with provided gel sanitizer upon entry. This has resulted in several doorway rumbles as patrons were insulted, refused and left, or accused us of trying to poison them with chemicals.
7) Floor decals mark directions for patron lines and proper social distancing spacing. They are roundly ignored. A fun additional anecdote: several of us got to watch the branch manager laying new ones down...
...while on the other side of the building, security chased around a patron who was following behind him, ripping them up, and throwing them away in the public bathroom. (He informed us, after being asked for his reasoning, that he just wanted to help us break free of the hoax.)
(It was like watching a Family Circus bit, but much more despairing.)
7) Staff are in a state of constant sanitization, wiping down tables, counters, and chairs. Signs implore patrons to do the same with provided wipes, but they generally don't.

8) Returned materials are quarantined (in the loading bay where staff frequently pass) for 48 hours.
(This isn't a knock on this branch manager or any other. We're doing the best we can. There just isn't room to quarantine hundreds and hundreds of books somewhere that no one ever goes. Public libraries don't have that much space.)
Okay, but what about the staff? What safety measures are they getting?

Well, they're being supplied with gloves, hand sanitizer, and masks when they are in the branch. Each staff member has also gotten a plastic face shield and one (1) washable mask to supplement paper ones.
Unfortunately, the bulk-bought supplies are not a great solution for everyone; we've had to struggle to find supplies for various staff who are allergic to latex, powder, dye, and aspirating the constant spraying of sanitizers.
Two out of three service desks have plexiglass shields now installed between patrons and staff, but they only shield 2/3 of the desk to make room for materials, and are not affixed to the desk so that patrons frequently grab and move them.
Staff are struggling to provide services while gloved/masked/shielded, even with no allergies. Overheating and inability to breathe after an hour of running around talking to patrons and lifting items in all that gear is common.
Staff with asthma are struggling to breathe through masks and struggle through spray disinfectants. Staff who have recovered from COVID and who otherwise have breathing issues are similarly impacted.
Staff accommodation has been slim. While working from home and providing curbside services, staff were able to be paid for a full 8 hours of work even if unable to come into the branch; now that we're open, staff must use their accrued sick/vacation leave if they don't come in.
If staff are out of leave, they can take unpaid leave with a doctor's note explaining the need, or use other unpaid options such as FMLA if they qualify.
Staff schedules are staggered to keep the minimum possible staff in the building at any given time, hoping to encourage more space between them, but this results in staff being run off their feet trying to keep up with patron demand and only exacerbates the other issues.
Given all of this, where do you think morale is? It's not anywhere good. Staff are doing their best to support one another

Maybe things would be less overwhelming if staff weren't in a state of constantly trying and failing to prevent patron misbehavior, but they are.
People are already giving up, and it's hard to blame them. How many times per day can you ask someone to put their mask back on, not knowing which one will result in them snapping on you and yelling abuse or threatening worse?
How many times can you refuse to use someone's computer for them or touch their device, followed by a torrent of abuse and complaints about bad service, before you just decide it's easier to risk death than to deal with one more person yelling at you?
How many ttraumatic encounters (because all the patrons are also stressed, angry, resentful) does it take before you decide that a mask over a mouth is better than nothing and just give up asking them for the 10th time to cover their nose?
This is about to devolve into a vent thread, but the point is this: this is the nicest possible way I can present this information. Being open right now is dangerous, miserable, and borderline abusive to staff.
Patrons who are still isolating are not using these services and are not being served any more than they were; many still call in, terrified and disappointed to learn that we can't disinfect the books or guarantee safety. Patrons who are here think we should chill out.
The most important things we're providing are the social services: employment and food services, access to the internet so that people can reach out to support nets and apply for jobs and help. Places for our homeless patrons, travelers, and those from dangerous homes to rest.
But, as usual, these are things that shouldn't be the job of libraries to provide. These are places where the social services of our government have failed those people, and instead of addressing that, the library is just open as a stop-gap instead.
Library workers are suffering and afraid. Library patrons are in danger in a system where, no matter how hard we try and what measures we take, we can't truly keep them safe. This isn't working.
And I am terribly afraid that it will continue not working until, after the second or third or however many waves, the pandemic is declared over, and we'll never know how many of our staff or patrons didn't survive it because the library, wanting to help, endangered them instead.
I'd like to add this morning since folks are reading this: it's important to remember that this impacts our most vulnerable staff the hardest. Folks who don't have other employment options and can't afford to lose the years they vested into this job.
Folks who don't have advanced degrees and can't afford to get them, who don't have savings, who support families and illnesses. They have no choice but to be here.
Our staff is also somewhere around 80% people of color, majority Black and Latinx, and it's more than obvious that the higher you go in the admin structure, the white it gets. That's not a coincidence.
Please support your fellow library staff if you can.
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