Library Coronavirus Updates

by Library Admin



Library Patrons,
As many of you have learned by now, Putnam County has now moved to level “Red” on the state’s COVID dashboard. This is especially troubling considering that numbers are predicted to increase in the coming weeks due to a post holiday surge. In order to respond to this trend, we are going to make the following changes to our operations.
-All meeting rooms will be closed to outside groups, persons, or organizations.
-The number of public computers will be reduced to two with time limits strictly enforced. Use of these computers will be scheduled by appointment with walk-ins considered when times are available.
-We will be strictly limiting direct staff help to patrons in instances where six feet of social distance cannot be maintained.
As is the case each time we reduce our level of access or service, it is regrettable. I also expect the constant reevaluation to continue in the days and weeks ahead. I can only say that each of these changes is made with the goal of keeping our staff and our patrons as safe as possible while still providing service to our community.

Matt McClelland, Library Director



Library Patrons,
Due to the persistent increase in COVID score in both Putnam County and those surrounding, we will be making changes to library operations. Effective today, all seating areas other than a reduced number of computer stations will be removed. This will hopefully encourage more of a “grab-and-go” model of service while still allowing public access to the bookshelves. We will closely monitor the COVID situation in the days and weeks to come when considering the need for other possible changes. As has been the case for the last several months, we will also continue to provide curbside pickup and access to eBooks via Libby and Overdrive. I encourage all of you to take advantage of those services if possible. It is not easy to increase restrictions. However our top priority has been and will remain creating the safest possible environment for our staff and patrons, especially those in more vulnerable populations.
Matt McClelland, Director


Putnam County Community,

Hopefully this will be my last COVID related update for some time. Our library will soon (by 7/4/2020) be shifting to Phase 3 of our reopening plan. I think all us will be excited to talk less about phases and stages and more about the services that we offer the community in coming weeks. However, that optimism does not mean that we can afford to completely let our guard down. As we have seen in other states, the threat of COVID is only controlled by our response to it. Thus far Indiana has done an admirable job in flattening the curve of the pandemic, but in order to maintain that progress we must remain vigilant. While the library will soon more closely resemble what we are all used to, certain protocols will need to remain in place for the foreseeable future. Protocols that may impact the public are the following:

-We will still be strongly recommending that you join every staff member and wear a mask or face shield in the public areas. Staff members have also been instructed to maintain proper social distancing from our patrons. Study after study shows that these are the most effective things each of us can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Curbside and remote services will still be offered for those who prefer it. I encourage you to do so.

-We will still be quarantining items and requiring you to place returns in the book drops instead of giving them to staff. The quarantine period on most items will be 72 hours while magazines and newspapers will be 24 hours. This represents the best practices from the research we have seen.

-The Kiwanis meeting room will be limited to smaller groups. All other confined meeting spaces (i.e. Rotary room and study rooms) will remain closed or be used to quarantine items.

-Certain areas of the library may have capacity restrictions or limited access.

-Indoor programs will be limited in size.

-The library will close for a period of at least 72 hours in the event of a positive COVID-19 test. This would be to prevent further spread in both patrons and staff (many of whom are in at-risk categories). Until research proves otherwise, we will rely on the passage of time as the most reliable way to sanitize items and the building.  

While all of us would like to put the COVID outbreak behind us, we are not quite there yet. Until we are, I ask that each of you do your part and help us do our part in meeting these challenging times. Judging by the patience you have shown through all of this, I have no doubt you will.

Matt McClelland, Library Director  



Putnam County Community,

 By now many of you have seen or are familiar with the
details of the Governor’s plan to get Indiana back on track. While this does
not mean that things are going to be back to normal any time soon, it does mean
that myself, the library board, and our great staff are excited to increase the
services that the library can offer. At our last meeting, the board voted to
implement a phased plan of library services once changes to the stay at home
order were announced by the Governor.

Pending any change in circumstances on the ground, the
library staff will be permitted back in the building on Monday, May 11th.
During that week we will be making sure the staff has adequate PPE, technology
to work remotely if they can, processing returns and mail, and putting the
finishing touches on a plan to offer curbside and remote services.

My hope is that we can offer contact-free curbside pickup on
a limited number of books and DVDs, emergency computer use for essential
business, and remote/phone access to the other library departments by Monday,
May 18th

This date is later than some libraries in the state and
earlier than others. We appreciate the Governor giving us the option to make
this decision locally. What is not an option for myself or the board is to
place our staff (or our patrons) at an increased risk because we opened before
we had the proper PPE or time to make sure we were best prepared.  

I would ask that you please bear with us during the next few
weeks as we try to figure all of this out. Judging by the support and patience
you have shown thus far, that is the least of my concerns. Please continue to
monitor this webpage or our Facebook for the most current information and guidance.

Matt McClelland, Library Director  



Putnam County Community,

On behalf of the library board and staff, I want to thank you for your continued patience as we all continue to deal with the repercussions of COVID-19. Hopefully you have all stayed safe while enjoying the digital resources that our staff has been working to provide. While it is still too soon to give out definite dates of reopening, it is not too soon to plan for that day. To that end, the library board will continue to hold regular meetings remotely via video conference. As state law dictates, we will make our best effort to provide the public a way to view these meetings if they desire.

The next library board meeting is tentatively planned for Wednesday 4/29/2020. If you would like to be added to the email list to receive an invitation, please email me at director@pcpl21.org.

I think we are all anxious to get back to some semblance of normalcy while protecting the library’s most important resource: our staff and patrons. Until that time, please remember that we are here to help not only via digital resources but also our info@pcpl21.org email account where if we can’t provide the answer, we can probably point you in the right direction.   

Matt McClelland, Library Director



Putnam County Community,

As you might have noticed, our website alert has now been changed to reflect that the closure of the library has now been amended from a specific date to “until further notice.” This change reflects language agreed upon after consulting with the library board. By being less specific, we will be better able to adjust to conditions in real time. We will be closely monitoring not only recommendations from the CDC and health organizations, but also local schools and area libraries for their best practices in this time. Hopefully, the worst of this crisis will soon be over. But we at the library would much rather have it said that we were overly cautious in this time than have it said that we were careless with the safety and health of our staff and patrons.

Until we reopen, I would have you take note that we will help however we can via the info@pcpl21.org email address. Also, do not forget that we have an abundance of resources which can be accessed completely digitally. In the coming weeks the staff and I will be doing our best to expand those resources not only with additional funding, but with our staff time as well. I will continue to provide updates as they become available, and I look forward to seeing all of you in the library again soon.

Matt McClelland, Director



Putnam County Community,

In the interest of public and staff safety, the Putnam County Public Library will be closing at 8:00pm on 3/16/2020 due to concerns caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. This closure will be in effect until at least 4/6/2020. During these coming weeks, we will constantly be monitoring the situation for changes and updates from our community, state, and federal resources. While it is never an easy decision to take away valuable resources from our community, we recognize the need to assist in stopping the spread of this virus. Please feel free to use our digital resources and monitor our webpage and Facebook for any updates. In addition, the info@pcpl21.org email address will be monitored during this closure. If we can assist you with answering questions or providing information, we will make every attempt to do so.

Matt McClelland, Library Director



Putnam County Community,

In addition to previously
announced measures, it is with regret that I announce that PCPL has made the
difficult decision to cancel all library programming and meeting room usage
through the end of March. At that time, we will reassess the situation. While these
services are vital to our county, we also have a responsibility to do our part
to reduce the spread of COVID-19 through our communities. In addition, the
Evergreen Consortium has extended
 due dates on library materials
to April 28th. We would ask that if you are sick, that you remain at
home and do not return materials. Any overdue fines relating to COVID-19
caution will be waived.

We regret any inconvenience that this may cause and look forward to
resuming all programming and services when it is safe and prudent to do so.

Thank you,

Matt McClelland, Library Director



Putnam County Community,

I wanted to take a moment to let our patrons know that we at the library are taking the recent Coronavirus outbreak in our state very seriously and will continue to monitor the situation for new developments. We will also continually be evaluating our operations in regards to what is in the best interest of the public and of our staff in regards to safety. This currently includes more frequent cleaning of high use areas, temporary removal of certain frequently used toys/objects in our children’s section, and signage that you will likely see around the library and on our webpage that explains best practices on how we as a community can help to slow the spread of this virus.

While you can certainly refer to the CDC materials linked on our webpage, the most important of these is thorough and frequent personal hygiene, and staying out of public areas such as the library when you are feeling ill or experiencing symptoms. We also ask that you bear with us in regards to sudden and unforeseen ways in which this might affect library services in the near future. We as a library work with many other community organizations and it is likely that services such as outreach efforts and programming will be impacted by not only our decisions, but those of our community partners as well. We will do our best to keep you as updated on any changes as we can via our webpage and Facebook.

Thank you,

Matt McClelland, Library Director

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