NPML Reopen Plan

Introduction

On March 21, 2020, all libraries in NJ were closed by Executive Order 107 of Governor Murphy.  This combined with a State of Emergency already in place because of the health crisis caused by COVID-19 required us to close our doors to the public and keep staffing to a minimal level.   

The state is being opened in phases and there are stages within each phase that rely on meeting public health levels.  On May 18, the Governor declared that all libraries are to be reopened with restrictions as part of the state’s Phase 2.  In all phases, 2 conditions must be met by the public across the state and in all locations.  These are:

  • social distancing or maintain a distance of at least 6 ft. between you and others
  • masks or face coverings that cover nose and mouth must be worn in public

These conditions are not optional and must be met to allow employees to return to work and for the public while in the library.

It is our intent in this document to detail our plan to reopen the library consistent with the Governor’s requirements and stages.  Our highest priority is the safety of our patrons and staff so to that end, we will make it clear what steps are being taken to comply with public health recommendations and why they are being taken.  

While we need to ensure the safety and health of patrons and staff, we want to continue to fulfill our mission as the center of lifelong learning in the town.  Although most of our programs have moved online and we have many digital resources to borrow, we have a wealth of print resources we aim to circulate as safe ways of doing so can be found. 

It should be noted that this is a fluid plan without hard dates for each of our Phases, nor are there hard dates for Governor Murphy’s Phases.  Circumstances are changing and we intend to reassess and revise the plan and the Phases to ensure that it continues to meet our needs and requirements.  As this happens, we will do our best to keep the public informed of plan developments as well as any requirements and restrictions.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS PLAN IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE AS CIRCUMSTANCES INCLUDING PUBLIC HEALTH MANDATES AND GOVERNMENT RESTRICTIONS DICTATE AT THE DISCRETION OF THE LIBRARY DIRECTOR AND SUBJECT TO REVIEW AND APPROVAL BY THE TRUSTEES OF THE LIBRARY.

NPML PHASE 0  – State of Emergency, libraries closed to the public

Most staff works remotely and a skeleton staff comes in periodically to maintain minimal operations.  The building is closed to the public.

NPML PHASE 1 – NPML closed to the public, prepare for partial service

With staff back in the building, preparation for return to partial service can begin.  Materials checked out during shutdown can be accepted and replaced on shelves for circulation.  Limits are imposed for safety reasons as follows:

  • Books must be quarantined for 5 days before they can circulate
  • Furniture and stacks must be rearranged to accommodate new social distancing requirements
  • Materials that would ensure the safety of our staff are not currently available to purchase and must be ordered with long wait times and installed
  • Cleaning materials are in short supply
  • Social distancing and masks are required by law as effective deterrents against germs

Requirements:

  • All employees must wear masks and practice social distancing while in the building.
  • All contents of book drops will be quarantined for 5 days.
  • Building will be deep cleaned concentrating on touch points 1x/week
  • Barriers will be installed to protect Circ Desk staff in preparation of public access
  • Furniture will be moved to enforce access restrictions and traffic flow
  • Any employee experiencing symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath, body aches or sore throat is advised to stay home and will not be admitted subject to judgement of the Director

Staff Operations:

  • FT staff will resume regular Mon-Fri, 9-5 hours in the building, PT staff will come in as scheduled
  • Employees will be spread out so there is no point of congregation in the staff area. They will be encouraged to use the Conti Room kitchen and all restrooms.
  • Staff required to clean their work area at the end of their shift.
  • On site work will include cataloging, placing orders, buying fiction, doing inventory, checking in & shelving books, working on weeding projects, emptying bins
  • Librarians will work remotely part of the week on publicity, programming, social media updates and website updates as well as remote online reference and cataloging
  • Circ staff will resume primary phone responsibility and stagger coverage to minimize germ transmission

Public Operations:

  • All programming done online via streaming or video
  • Board meetings held remotely
  • No access to meeting rooms
  • Book drops open
  • Fines will not accrue for the period of closure from 3/16/20 until PHASE 2
  • Book carts with free material stocked and left at front and side entrances

PHASE 2 – NPML not open to the public, limited collection access

With books back on the shelves, access to the collection can start subject to limits.  Limits are imposed for safety reasons as follows:

  • Books must be quarantined for 5 days before they can circulate
  • Furniture and stacks must be rearranged to accommodate new requirements
  • Materials that would ensure the safety of our staff are not currently available to purchase and must be ordered with long wait times and installed
  • Cleaning materials are in short supply
  • Social distancing and masks are required by law as effective deterrents against germs

Requirements:

  • All employees must wear masks while in the building.
  • All contents of book drops will be quarantined for 5 days.
  • Building will be deep cleaned concentrating on touch points 2x/week
  • Barriers will be installed to protect Circ Desk staff in preparation of public access
  • Furniture will be moved to enforce access restrictions and traffic flow
  • Materials will circulate on a limited basis from a table in the foyer
  • Remote Printing will be allowed
  • Any employee experiencing symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath, body aches or sore throat is advised to stay home and will not be admitted subject to judgement of the Director

Staff Operations:

  • FT staff will work Mon-Fri, 9-5 hours, PT staff will come in as scheduled
  • Evening hours will resume, Mon & Thurs until 7, weekend hours will be considered
  • Employees will be spread out so there is no point of congregation in the staff area. They will be encouraged to use the Conti Room kitchen and all restrooms.
  • Staff required to clean their work area at the end of their shift.
  • On site work will include cataloging, placing orders, buying fiction, doing inventory, checking in & shelving books, working on weeding projects, emptying bins, fulfilling requests and taking requests via phone or email
  • Librarians will work remotely part of the week on publicity, programming, social media updates and website updates as well as remote online reference and cataloging
  • Book Bundles will be assembled for patrons according to interest, genre, specific requests
  • Materials will circulate on a limited basis from a table in the foyer during regular staff hours
  • Remote Printing will be allowed, a daily page limit will be imposed, no print fee collected
  • Online ability to request items in the library will be enabled
  • Circ staff will resume primary phone responsibility and stagger coverage to minimize germ transmission

 

Public Operations:

  • All programming done online via streaming or video
  • Board meetings held remotely
  • No access to meeting rooms
  • Book drops open, no returns accepted in the building
  • Remote Printing will be allowed, a daily page limit will be imposed, no print fee collected, materials left in foyer
  • Fines will not accrue for the period of closure from 3/16/20 until PHASE 2
  • Material requested via online hold request, phone, direct email or website contact form
  • Social Distancing must be practiced on premises, only 1 individual or group in the foyer at a time with masks
  • Public are expected to follow 6’ distancing sidewalk markers while waiting for access into the foyer

PHASE 3 – NPML partially open with limited public access 

Access to public computers by appointment only is imposed for safety reasons as follows:

  • We do not employ cleaning staff who could clean public restrooms and high touch points constantly during the day so must restrict restroom access to staff only
  • Computers must be cleaned after each use to minimize germ transmission
  • Access to collection materials is controlled to limit the spread of germs
  • Books must be quarantined for 5 days before they can circulate
  • Social distancing and masks are required by law as effective deterrents against germs
  • Virus particles are airborne and have been shown to be more infectious with longer exposure making it necessary for short patron visits

 

Requirements:

  • All employees must wear masks while in the building.
  • All contents of book drops will be quarantined for 5 days.
  • Materials will circulate on a limited basis from a table in the foyer
  • Remote and on site printing will be allowed
  • Building will be deep cleaned concentrating on touch points 2x/week
  • No public access to anything except the public computers
  • Barriers and one-way traffic direction established
  • Barriers in place at the Circ Desk to protect staff
  • Any employee or patron experiencing symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath, body aches or sore throat is advised to stay home and will not be admitted subject to judgement of the staff
  • Patron restrictions will be posted and reinforced when appointments made

Staff Operations:

  • FT staff will work Mon-Fri, 9-5 hours, PT staff will come in as scheduled
  • Evening hours will resume, Mon & Thurs until 7, weekend hours will be considered
  • Employees will be spread out so there is no point of congregation in the staff area. They will be encouraged to use the Conti Room kitchen and all restrooms.
  • Staff required to clean their work area at the end of their shift.
  • On site work will include cataloging, placing orders, buying fiction, doing inventory, checking in & shelving books, working on weeding project, emptying bins, scheduling appointments and fulfilling requests and taking requests via phone or email
  • Circ staff will resume primary phone responsibility and stagger coverage to minimize germ transmission
  • Librarians will work remotely part of the week
  • Book Bundles will be assembled for patrons according to interest, genre, specific requests
  • Materials will circulate on a limited basis from a table in the foyer during regular staff hours
  • Online ability to request items on the shelf will be enabled
  • Remote printing with restrictions will continue to be left in the foyer
  • Only exact change accepted for public computer printing, no change given
  • Staff will wipe down public computer keyboard and counter after each appointment

Public Requirements:

  • Social Distancing must be practiced on premises, only 1 individual or group in the foyer at a time with masks, through traffic lane into the building will be set up
  • Masks or face coverings must be worn for admittance into the library
  • No access to any other parts of the building is allowed except to public computer
  • A strict time limit of 30 minutes on public computers will be imposed, regardless of whether anybody else is scheduled
  • Patrons must leave by side door, no other access is allowed

Public Operations:

  • Admittance into the library by appointment only, admittance without appointment by discretion of staff, 30 minute limit imposed
  • All programming done online via streaming or video
  • Board meetings held remotely
  • No access to meeting rooms
  • No use of restrooms
  • No use of public copier permitted
  • Limited assistance can be provided, no one-on-one instruction
  • Printing fees will be accepted with exact change only, no change given
  • Holds will be allowed for material on shelves or unavailable material
  • Book Bundles will be assembled for patrons or specific requests fulfilled
  • Material requested via online hold request, phone, direct email or website contact form
  • Fines will not accrue for the period of closure from 3/16/20 PHASE 2
  • Holds will resume
  • Social distancing limits occupancy in the foyer to 1 individual or 1 family group with masks
  • Only single parties admitted in, no accompanying children can be accommodated
  • Public are expected to follow 6’ distancing sidewalk markers while waiting for access into the foyer

Patrons will be notified of restrictions when making an appointment and will be reminded when they arrive of the following restrictions:

  • 30 minute limit on time use
  • limited assistance available on public computers
  • no restroom use
  • no access to stacks, meeting room or any other part of the library
  • mask or face covering must be worn
  • no lingering or loitering allowed
  • exact change is appreciated for printing fee, no change will be given
  • only single parties admitted in, no accompanying children can be accommodated
  • children under 10 not permitted at computers since they need to be accompanied by an adult
  • Staff reserves the right to refuse entry to individuals who appear to be symptomatic. These may include coughs, fever or shortness of breath.
  • no exceptions

PHASE 4 – NPML open limited public access

A limited number of public computers is available for limited time slots to enforce the social distancing requirement.  Access to stacks in the adult and children’s areas only will be limited by building capacity for safety reasons as follows:   

We do not employ cleaning staff who could clean public restrooms and high touch points constantly during the day so must restrict public access to a single restroom only

  • Computers must be cleaned after each use to minimize germ transmission
  • Access to collection materials is controlled to limit the spread of germs
  • Books must be quarantined for 5 days before they can circulate
  • All materials will be returned via outside book drops and not in the inside book drop
  • Social distancing and masks are required by law as effective deterrents against germs
  • One-way traffic is enforced in the stacks because they are narrow and social distancing is difficult
  • Access to Children’s Room limited to 1 group or person at a time
  • Occupancy limited by capacity to ensure social distancing in the stacks
  • Virus particles are airborne and have been shown to be more infectious with longer exposure making it necessary for short patron visits
  • Social distancing guidelines will be followed outside the library as well as inside

 

Requirements:

  • All employees must wear masks while in the building.
  • All contents of book drops will be quarantined for 5 days.
  • Materials will continue to circulate from a table in the foyer
  • Remote and on site printing will be allowed
  • Building will be deep cleaned concentrating on touch points 3x/week
  • Public must respect barriers and traffic flows
  • Barriers and one-way traffic direction established
  • Barriers in place at the Circ Desk to protect staff
  • No access to the Children’s Room
  • Bathroom by the Conti Room is designated for public use
  • Printing fees for onsite and remote printing collected, exact change not required

Staff Operations:

  • FT staff will work Mon-Fri, 9-5 hours, PT staff will come in as scheduled
  • Evening hours will resume, Mon & Thurs until 7, weekend hours will be considered
  • Employees will be spread out so there is no point of congregation in the staff area. They will be encouraged to use the Conti Room kitchen and all restrooms.
  • Staff required to clean their work area at the end of their shift.
  • On site work will include cataloging, placing orders, buying fiction, doing inventory, checking in & shelving books, working on weeding project, emptying bins and fulfilling requests and taking requests via phone or email
  • Librarians will work remotely part of the week
  • Book Bundles will be assembled for patrons according to interest, genre, specific requests
  • Ability to request items on the shelf online will be enabled
  • Staff will wipe down public computer keyboard and counter after each appointment

Public Requirements:

  • Social Distancing must be practiced on premises, only 1 individual or group in the foyer at a time
  • Masks or face coverings must be worn for admittance into the library
  • Access in the building is restricted
  • A strict time limit will be imposed on public computer use, regardless of whether anybody else is scheduled and only a limited number of individuals allowed
  • A strict time limit of 30 minutes to browse in the stacks will be imposed and patrons cannot backtrack, only individuals admitted
  • Access to the Children’s Room limited to 1 person or group at a time
  • Patrons must leave by side door, no other access is allowed
  • Remote print jobs can be picked up and paid for at the Circ Desk, payment accepted

Public Operations:

  • Admittance into the library by appointment only, admittance without appointment by discretion of staff, 30-minute limit imposed for public computers or stacks
  • All programming done online via streaming or video
  • Board meetings may be held subject to public health restrictions
  • No use of tables, chairs or magazines allowed
  • No movies will be shown
  • No use of public copier permitted
  • No art shows or sale of items allowed
  • Book store closed and donations not accepted
  • No meetings by any organizations other than library-related
  • No access to meeting rooms
  • Restroom access limited to bathroom outside Conti Room
  • Limited assistance can be provided, no one-on-one instruction
  • Printing fees will be collected along with overdue fines and other fees
  • Holds will be allowed for material on shelves or unavailable material
  • Book Bundles will be assembled for patrons or specific requests fulfilled
  • Material requested via online hold request, phone, direct email or website contact form
  • only single parties admitted in for computer use, no accompanying children can be accommodated
  • Only single use or family group allowed for access to the stacks

Patrons will be notified of restrictions when making an appointment and will be reminded when they arrive of the following restrictions:

  • 30 minute limit on access to stacks
  • limited public computer assistance available
  • Conti Room restroom only
  • no access to meeting room, tables, chairs or any other part of the library behind barriers
  • mask or face covering must be worn
  • no lingering or loitering allowed
  • only single parties admitted in to public computers, no accompanying children can be accommodated
  • children under 10 not permitted at computers since they need to be accompanied by an adult
  • Staff reserves the right to refuse entry to individuals who appear to be symptomatic. These may include coughs, fever or shortness of breath.
  • no exceptions

Phase 5 – NPML allows public access without appointment

NPML is open subject to public health restrictions for transmission which may include:

  • Books must be quarantined for 5 days before they can circulate
  • All materials will be returned via outside book drops and not in the inside book drop
  • Social distancing and masks are required by law as effective deterrents against germs
  • Social distancing guidelines will be followed outside the library as well as inside

 

Requirements:

  • All employees must wear masks while in the building.
  • All contents of book drops will be quarantined for 5 days.
  • Remote and on site printing will be allowed
  • Building will be deep cleaned concentrating on touch points 3x/week
  • Barriers in place at the Circ Desk to protect staff
  • Fines imposed on overdue material
  • Access to the Children’s Room is allowed but no lingering is permitted, no toys, games or puzzles

Staff Operations:

  • FT staff will resume regular hours including nights & weekends
  • Employees will be spread out so there is no point of congregation in the staff area. They will be encouraged to use the Conti Room kitchen and all restrooms.
  • Staff required to clean their work area at the end of their shift.
  • On site work will include cataloging, placing orders, buying fiction, doing inventory, checking in & shelving books, working on weeding project, emptying bins
  • Librarians may work remotely part of the week
  • Ability to request items on the shelf online will be disabled
  • Access to stacks and other areas will resume but efforts to distance by spreading out tables, imposing limits on use and spacing chairs will be enforced
  • Staff reserves right to impose limits or refuse entry based on observed crowding

Public Requirements:

  • Social Distancing must be practiced on premises
  • Masks or face coverings must be worn for admittance into the library

Public Operations:

  • Most programming done online via streaming or video
  • Board meetings may be held subject to public health restrictions
  • Limited use of tables, chairs, magazines allowed with social distancing requirements met
  • Movies will be shown with reduced capacity
  • Art shows or sale of items allowed
  • Book store reopened and donations accepted
  • Limited meetings as per public health restrictions
  • No access to meeting rooms

Patrons will be reminded when they arrive of following restrictions:

  • mask or face covering must be worn
  • lingering or loitering discouraged
  • Staff reserves the right to refuse entry to individuals who appear to be symptomatic. These may include coughs, fever or shortness of breath.
  • no exceptions

Post COVID-19 – a cure or vaccine is widely available

When public health authorities and government officials declare that the pandemic threat has passed and it is safe to do so, NPML anticipates returning to pre-pandemic operations where people would come and go at will, no restrictions imposed.  Staff would return to pre-pandemic staffing levels on the public desks and in-person events and meetings would resume.  It is hoped, however, that some practices will emerge from this time and become best practices for the fu

We have moved into Phase 3..

of our phased Re-open Plan.  On September 28, we welcomed the first patron in for a 45 minute computer appointment.  Social distancing requires us to limit public access to 2 computers and there are new procedures and restrictions.  

In spite of restrictions, allowing patrons back into the building is another step forward.  We anticipate opening up a COVID browsing library by the beginning of November with an open area for patrons of all ages to come in and browse new and selected materials from our larger collection.  Staff will be available to assist with requests and you can continue to place materials on hold for pickup.

We will continue to make foyer pickup available for those who don't want to come into the library.  Materials should still be returned into the exterior drop boxes.  You can check the complete list of instructions for more information.  

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377 ELKWOOD AVENUE
NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ 07974
908-665-0311