COVID - 19 and Spooner Memorial Library Message from our Director, Angie Bodzislaw: "As a librarian I need to re-frame my thoughts about how to best serve my patrons. Typically, that means staying open at all costs. But in this case, "how to best serve my patrons" means reducing opportunities for exposure and working alongside our health department and state to slow the spread of COVID-19, which will, in turn, ease the burden on our local hospitals and protect our vulnerable community members. Closing the library is not a decision I, nor my board, takes lightly; however, it is imperative that we do so. Though our doors will be closed, we do offer Minimal Contact Curbside Pickup four days a week. We have tentative plans to open the library to 5 patrons at a time in June. More details coming."
Update: On May 26, 2020 the Library Board of Trustees approved an eight stage plan to reopen the library. Starting on June 1, 2020 the dropbox will be open every day and starting June 5, Fridays will be a day where patrons can come into the library at scheduled times. As we move into each stage of reopening we will assess the current environment of our community to determine at what pace we should move forward. We continue to work closely with Public Health as well.
Update: On June 23, 2020 the Library Board of Trustees approved moving on to Stage 5 of opening and amended the policy of restricting children under 8 from using the library. Effective July 1st, patrons of all ages will be able to enter the library with restrictions - all must sanitize their hands, stay home if ill, and age 2+ must wear a mask (masks provided if needed). Toys will be put away time slots will be scheduled.
On July 28, 2020 the Library Board of Trustees approved remaining at Stage 5 of opening with a few changes. Effective August 10th the scheduled in person days will be at the beginning of the week (Monday-Wednesday, 8am-8pm) and curbside only days will be at the end of the week (Thursday, 8am-8pm; Friday, 8am-4pm; Saturday, 8am-Noon). Visits are shortened back up to 15 minutes as an added safety measure. Earlier morning and Saturday hours were added to better be accessible to patrons.
On September 22, 2020 the Library Board of Trustees approved moving to state 6 of opening with a few changes. Effective October 5th the scheduled in person days will be Monday-Thursday, 8-8. Curbside only days will be Friday, 8-4 and Saturday, 8-12. To better serve our patrons, public computers can be scheduled all week, Monday-Saturday during library hours. Four computers will be open. A seating area will also be open to assist virtual education families and remote workers. Each table will be by reservation. Outdoor programs with 10 attendees or less is allowed with six foot distance between attendees. One bathroom is open for patrons and is cleaned once per day.
On October 27, 2020 the Library Board of Trustees approved remaining at stage 6 of opening due to the increased risk of COVID in our community. The only change is that tables do not need to be reserved.
Update November 17, 2020: A message from our Director:
Community is at the core of our mission, and as such, it is with a concerned heart for our community that we are closing our doors to in-person library use effective November 18, 2020.
Here is where our community is at, and the "why" behind moving to curbside only services:
Washburn County has had over 498 confirmed cases of COVID and there are no signs of slowing down. It took our County 6 months to reach 100 cases and only 2 months to reach an additional 400 cases. Last weekend alone, the County added 73 more cases. From November 3rd-14th (11 days) the County saw a 108% increase in cases in the 30-49 year old age range.
Our library team cares deeply about all of you and will continue to be innovative and creative in how we serve you from afar. You will still have access to what we house in the library and on the web. You will be able to print/copy/fax/scan and more. Visit our website to schedule curbside services: spoonerlibrary.org.
On January 27, 2021 the Library Board of Trustees and library Director discussed reopening at their regularly scheduled board meeting and determined that opening the doors to in person visits was appropriate at this time. The Wisconsin DHS COVID activity level has changed from Critical to Very High and we have seen a significant decrease in the number of new positive cases since the Board's decision to offer curbside-only. Effective February 1, 2021 the library will allow in person visits Monday-Saturday during regularly scheduled hours. The infrastructure is in place to go back to curbside-only should there be a large COVID spike. Masks must be worn properly, covering the nose and mouth, by all patrons and staff. The mask requirement is non-negotiable and is not dependent on a state mask mandate. Curbside appointments will remain available all week long and can be scheduled on the library website or by phone call. Programs will continue to be offered virtually and toys and seating, aside from designated spaced tables, will no be available at this time. We ask that patrons and staff who are ill or asked to quarantine remain home for the safety of the community.
On March 16, 2021 Northern Waters Library System announced that returned items and items in delivery will no longer need to be quarantined for 4 days. Items will be quarantined for 24 hours instead. Effective March 20, 2021 Saturday hours will move back to pre-COVID hours of 8am - 4pm. Spooner Library continues to require properly worn masks while in the building and curbside continues to be available Monday-Saturday.
Update as of May 26, 2021: Spooner Memorial Library has been open for quite some time, so if you haven't stopped in, WE ARE OPEN! As COVID cases continue to drop, and with updated CDC recommendations, the library board, director, and team are beginning their "exit strategy." There were careful considerations when setting up the entrance strategy to Covid 19, regarding the library, and now it is time to consider the exit strategy for the library and moving forward.
The board discussed at length the Director’s recommendations for moving forward at their May 25th board meeting which stated, "In March 2020, we sought out advice from Washburn County Public Health, Center for Disease Control (CDC), Department of Instruction, and specific library related entities on how to best navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. This has not changed over a year later and continues to guide us in our reopening plan. We are aware of CDC's statement allowing vaccinated individuals to gather unmasked. We will not be asking patrons if they are or are not vaccinated, thus we will continue to require 100% mask compliance at this time. However, we have a plan in place to start moving more towards normalcy. One such plan is to adjust our mask requirement when St. Francis de Sales school is out as students use the library almost daily. Beginning June 7, the library will adjust the mask requirement to the following: Monday-Wednesday will require 100% mask compliance in ages 5+ and Thursday-Saturday will not require 100% mask compliance. This change allows library patrons who are unable to be vaccinated an opportunity to still safely use the library at the beginning of the week. Once Washburn County reaches a 70% vaccinated rate, the library will no longer require 100% mask compliance as the County has approached herd immunity rates. We may make this change prior to the 70% mark if deemed appropriate by public health. The library will continue to host programs outside if possible or limited seating inside. We will be opening more computer stations and more seating has already opened up. We appreciate your patience and respect as we navigate COVID-19 together." The board voted unanimously to approve this update to the pandemic policy and will evaluate it once more at the June 22nd board meeting.
In summary, here is what to expect (beginning June 7th) at Spooner Library. Masks will be required by everyone age 5+ on Monday-Wednesday. If a patron cannot or refuses to wear a mask those days, we will provide curbside service while the patron waits outside. Side note - curbside service is available Monday-Saturday. Masks are not required Thursday-Saturday as an opportunity for those who are vaccinated or unable to wear a mask to use the library without masks. We will continue to have masks and hand sanitizer in our entrance as it is still the recommendation of CDC for people without their vaccinations to wear masks, but masks are not required at the end of the week. Staff will continue to wear masks (to lead by example). All six adult computer stations are open and two spaced computer stations are open in the children's wing. We have no limit on the number of people in the library at one time, though programs that have a lot of attendance will be held outdoors. We have a mixture of spaced tables and community tables in our sitting areas on both the adult and children's sides. Children's toys will be taken out of storage and set back up on the children's wing with the understanding that we will not be able to clean them all between uses. Both bathrooms are open to the public. Our glass barriers will remain up and patrons can choose whether they scan their own items or we scan them. Staff and patrons will be asked to stay home if ill. Returned items and items in delivery from other libraries will no longer be quarantined after a follow up study confirming the extremely rare chance of COVID spread amongst library materials. In the same way that we went into the pandemic with careful thought and consideration for the community, we will continue to do so with our exit strategy. No matter where our patrons stand on issues, such as masks and safety concerns, we hear you. We know we cannot make everyone happy, but we can definitely listen to the voices of the community and to science as we have been. It is time to move forward in the best way we can. SO, YES WE ARE OPEN AND WELCOME BACK!