[AL-Directors] Libraries and the statewide freeze

NIELSEN Buzzy * SLO Buzzy.NIELSEN at slo.oregon.gov
Mon Nov 16 14:30:46 PST 2020

Hello everyone,

We've been in conversation with the Governor's Office on how the recently-announced two-week statewide freeze<https://govstatus.egov.com/or-covid-19> affects libraries. We confirmed that libraries are not among the organizations that are required to close their facilities during the freeze. However, libraries that choose to keep their buildings open should follow the guidelines established for retail businesses, which are as follows:

  *   Limit your facility to a maximum of 75% of its normal, pre-pandemic capacity.
  *   Provide and strongly encourage your patrons to use curbside/takeout or delivery service.
  *   Enable employees to work remotely to the greatest extent possible.

In addition to the retail guidelines, venues that host or facilitate indoor or outdoor events must close. Given this restriction, closing public meeting rooms would be prudent.

Here are some answers to more specific questions we've received from many of you:

Should we close our library building?
The Governor's Office is not specifically saying that libraries must close their buildings at this time. However, we understand why many of you might choose to close, especially in areas that are harder hit by the virus. The decision depends heavily on your building, the spread of coronavirus in your community, and other risk factors. For this reason, we recommend that you consult with your local public health department<https://www.oregon.gov/oha/ph/ProviderPartnerResources/LocalHealthDepartmentResources/Pages/lhd.aspx> on whether to close or roll back services further than the above recommendations during the two-week freeze.

Are there other actions we can take to limit the spread of coronavirus?
In addition to the guidelines established for the two-week freeze, here are other common measures to consider that many libraries are implementing:

  *   Discontinue all in-person programming (indoor and outdoor).
  *   Limit the amount of time patrons may spend in the facility.
  *   Further limit the capacity of your building. While the freeze guideline is 75% capacity, many libraries are using the CDC figure of at least 113 ft2 per occupant to allow for 6' physical distancing.
  *   Rearrange areas of your building that might encourage people from different households to mingle, possibly including removing or blocking furniture.

How do we protect library workers and volunteers?
In addition to facilitating remote work, libraries can take other actions to protect library workers and volunteers:

  *   Reconsider workflows for processes such as check-in, check-out, etc. to minimize close contact among staff, volunteers, and the public.
  *   Install guards between staff and the public at service points.
  *   If you have a separate business office, close it to the public.
  *   Remain vigilant in abiding by and enforcing other statewide COVID-19 guidance such as the Statewide Mask, Face Covering, Face Shield Guidance<https://sharedsystems.dhsoha.state.or.us/DHSForms/Served/le2288K.pdf> and General Guidance for Employers<https://sharedsystems.dhsoha.state.or.us/DHSForms/Served/le2342C.pdf>.

Further information on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic is available on our COVID-19 LibGuide<https://libguides.osl.state.or.us/coronavirus>. You're always welcome to send your questions to me, too, at buzzy.nielsen at slo.oregon.gov<mailto:buzzy.nielsen at slo.oregon.gov> or 971-375-3486.

We know that it's not easy to roll back services. You've all been working tirelessly and thoughtfully to protect your patrons and each other from COVID-19, and we know that you'll apply that same passion and thoughtfulness when considering how to respond to the two-week freeze. Thank you for all of your efforts, both personal and professional. They've truly helped protect library workers and the communities you serve.

Stay safe, stay healthy,

Buzzy Nielsen, MPP, MSI
Program Manager, Library Support & Development Services
State Library of Oregon
Pronouns: he/him/his
NEW! buzzy.nielsen at slo.oregon.gov<mailto:buzzy.nielsen at slo.oregon.gov> | 971-375-3486 | www.oregon.gov/library/libraries<https://www.oregon.gov/library/libraries>
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