Temporary Changes to Services in November 2020
Dear Patrons of the Cranford Public Library,
We hope that you are planning for an enjoyable holiday, and that, above all else, you stay safe. The library will be closing at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, November 25 and remaining closed on Thursday, November 26. In keeping with our goal to prioritize your health and safety, and that of the library staff, limited in-person browsing of the library collection will be suspended effective Friday, November 27 with a planned restoration date of Monday, December 14 if circumstances allow. During this time, we will continue to provide Grab and Go Pickup of library materials.
Library staff will still field requests via our online catalog, phone, chat and email, pull and process materials, contact you when your items are ready for pickup, and arrange bagged items for pickup at our Walnut Avenue entrance. This service, which includes books, audiobooks, CDs, DVD and other special collections, will remain available every weekday from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm, plus 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm on Wednesdays and 10:00 am to 2:00 pm on Saturdays. Cranford Public Library cardholders can still call to reserve and pick up our Mobile Lending Kits, each of which includes a tablet, and a mobile hotspot to connect the tablet (or your own device) to the internet from anywhere. Our staff will still be available to field your questions via phone, chat or email, and we will continue to process and add new materials to the collection. We will also continue to plan remote programs for all ages, and provide access to our expanding digital collections.
This is not a decision that we have made lightly. At the November 19 Meeting of the Board of Trustees, the Board discussed the potential need to take a proactive approach to help curtail the rising level of positive cases, hospitalizations and deaths in New Jersey. As of November 21, the seven-day average of new coronavirus cases in New Jersey has been 3,902 new cases per day, with November 21 marking the highest number of new cases in a single day in 2020. New Jersey Department of Health’s most recent reports show the Activity Level of COVID-19 as HIGH in nearly every part of the state. In addition, with the potential for indoor gatherings and travel sharply increasing over the holiday week, there is a significant likelihood that the case count in the coming weeks will be much higher. The Cranford School District has been closely monitoring these statistics as well, and will be moving to fully remote services for the same time period in November and early December.
In March and April, when cases were near the current numbers, we were offering exclusively remote services. At this time, changes to our internal workflow and physical layout, including relocating, rescheduling and distancing library staff, installing plexiglass shields and air purifiers, and maintaining healthy quarantine procedures, have made it possible to maintain Grab and Go Pickup. I would like to commend the library staff for consistently wearing masks, sanitizing workstations, maintaining distancing protocols wherever possible, and reporting travel and quarantining as necessary; simultaneously, I express my gratitude to the public for adhering to standards set by the library to maximize safety. As a result of everyone’s compassion, diligence and personal sacrifice, we have kept the number of COVID positive cases on staff to zero, and have had no reports of COVID positive users being traced to the library.
To work to keep these numbers at zero, I ask for your patience, understanding and support as we make this temporary change to our services, to allow us to assess our plans based on the data available. If everyone who plans to celebrate this week follows guidance from the CDC, NJDOH and other credible health organizations (by staying home or outside whenever possible, wearing masks, limiting gatherings, staying six feet apart, avoiding crowded places and seeking medical attention if any symptoms manifest), there’s a good chance that we’ll turn the current spike in cases around. In the coming weeks, daily statistics will show whether we have been successful. In the meantime, we will continue to provide access to our physical and digital collections, and take more steps forward towards normalcy when the science shows that the time is right. It has been wonderful to see people in the library again over the past few months, and we hope that’s a sight that will return on December 14. Until then, let’s show everyone that we can beat this thing.
Thank you, and hope all’s well,