photo of Lisa Downing, library directorTurning the calendar to March brings anticipation for spring and this year it also brings hope for a continuing decline in COVID-19 cases. We are monitoring cases locally, listening to the health experts, and following the roll out of widespread vaccinations along with the virus variants. Our next steps in reopening the library are tied to a sustained reduction in cases for our service area which will allow us to invite more patrons into more spaces of the library.

The library’s reopening steps also need to consider safety factors that may not be apparent. Our staff will not qualify for vaccines until Phase 3 unless they qualify for another reason such as age or underlying health conditions. Our building has limited air exchange and primitive filtration and modifications are not feasible due to the size and type of air handling systems that our 42,000-square-foot building relies upon. We also need to consider that the majority of our community won’t be vaccinated for some months and therefore susceptible to infection. The library is a trusted community resource and we need to proceed cautiously following all of the recommended safety precautions because of the nature of our open and public service model. In the meantime, we will continue to provide access to our collections, staff expertise, services, and programs in the ways that we have been doing while also preparing for expanded services when it is safer to do so.

Lisa Downing
Director, Forbes Library