Neill Public Library creates reopening plan, adds days to curbside pickup service

Reopening plan includes specific times high-risk community members can enter library

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SCREENSHOT OF MEETING

The library’s reopening will be safe and slow, said Joanna Bailey, Neill Public Library director, during a NPL board meeting Wednesday. 

ALEXANDRIA OSBORNE, Evergreen reporter

The Neill Public Library created a reopening plan that will be implemented when the rate of local COVID-19 cases decreases.

The plan follows reopening guidelines that have been set by Gov. Jay Inslee’s office, said NPL Director Joanna Bailey during an NPL board meeting on Wednesday.

“The first hurdle to reopening was, of course, receiving those guidelines,” she said.

The library does not plan on reopening until other departments, such as schools, reopen as well, she said. The library’s reopening will be safe and slow. The Whitman County Health Department plans to start sending students to school semi-regularly.

“We want to support the school district and the safe environment they are creating,” Bailey said.

The board does not want to undermine the safety precautions that have been put in place by the school board and health department, she said.

When the library opens, there will be restrictions on who will be let in and when, Bailey said. There will also be specific times for high-risk community members to use the library.

Despite the library being closed, people are still able to access some resources, such as the library’s Wi-Fi, by working in their cars in the parking lot, Bailey said.

“We know that we will be providing curbside service,” Bailey said. “It gives us an opportunity, where if we have folks who are resistant or not able to wear a mask in the library, we can serve them by the curb.”

Curbside service is a safe way to access material, she said. It also allows staff to hand out those materials as safely as possible. The service will run five days a week, rather than three, because of an increase in staff members.

The library’s 2019 annual report will be announced next Tuesday, Bailey said. There will also be a presentation on Thursday about the impact COVID-19 has on library services.

There have been discussions with the city administration about budgeting for 2021-22, she said. There are drafts of the budget, but the fiscal estimates are not final. Library officials worked with city officials on how to manage their 2021-22 budgets, she said.

“What we’re looking at for 2021 and 2022 is a 1.5 percent cut,” Bailey said. “For 2021, that is $28,048, and for 2022, that is $29,080.”