Continued vigilance key to reopening  

This year continues to be challenging but with careful planning we have continued to provide library services. The Mohawk Valley has entered into NYS Phase 4 and the library has begun Chapter 3 in the Reopening Plan. You can call the library to set up an appointment for browsing and computer use and we will continue to offer pick up service.

During this time all patrons must wash hands or use disinfectants upon entering the building, wear face masks that cover the nose and mouth and maintain at least a distance of at least six feet from others.

Don’t forget that not touching your face is an important part of staying healthy. If we all stay careful, follow guidelines and show mutual respect, we can continue to make progress.

The library will continue to quarantine returns and clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces throughout the day. All staff have been trained in proper hygiene and will wear masks.

Plexiglas shields have been installed at the checkout desk and in the Children’s Room. Our biggest challenge is the availability of disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer. We have a small inventory and if we run out of stock, we’ll have to step back to Chapter 2 and only provide pick up services.

Computer reservations may be made by calling the library at 607-432-1980. Computer stations have been separated to allow more than six feet between users. Reservations will be limited to 30 minutes during this phase and we will not be able to offer technical assistance. Sanitizing wipes are available to disinfect the keyboard and mouse before they are used.

Browsing appointments may be made by calling the library. You’ll be able to enter following the guidelines stated above, browse the collection then use the self-checkout station on your way out. Your browsing time will be limited to 15 minutes only. I know this is a short time but we have to maintain a physical distance and ease our way into a new world of library use.

Hopefully, with continued vigilance and careful forward progress we’ll be able to actually see our patrons again without masks.

For once, I can say the library has been very quiet these days. Serving the community from afar has been challenging, especially when we typically see more than 300 people on an average day. We all miss the conversations, sharing good books, helping people succeed in a technological environment, and providing programs with real people in the room.

Tina Winstead is director of Huntington Memorial Library in Oneonta. Her column appears in the community section of The Daily Star every Tuesday. Her columns may also be found online at

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