The pandemic has resulted in an acute change in the way our community members live and work. This has clearly impacted their use of our spaces, too. In-building demand is highest for access to Wi-Fi, computers, and other technology. We know from observing customer usage that the number of children and teens coming to many of our locations has dropped significantly. We also know that many community members are choosing to use our virtual customer service options during this time, like phoning, emailing, texting, and chatting with us online.
These kinds of changes and decrease to in-building service demands has been particularly impactful at the Downtown Main Library. Because of these changes in the way the community needs us during the pandemic, we are making some adjustments.
- We are building the capacity of our Virtual Information Center to meet the increased demand of those who want to connect with us virtually.
- We are combining the staffing of our Information & Reference and Genealogy & Local History departments to make it more efficient for customers to get in-depth assistance. This new cross-functional team is our Genealogy, Local History & In-Depth Information Team for the time being.
- We are focusing youth services in the branches for now, because staff at branches are able to provide a variety of in-demand services while also serving the reduced numbers of kids and teens that are visiting in-person. Please note, we have added children’s and teen materials to the Popular Library on the first floor of the Main Library, and staff in that space are extremely capable and happy to serve youth.
Our goal is to continue to provide the same types and level of service that we have in the past, and we are committed to making the same resources available to the community as we have before. In addition, we are offering new services, based on community needs during the pandemic, such as free COVID-19 testing at our locations on select dates. We also have adjusted existing services to assist the community during the pandemic, such as making printing free and eliminating late fees. These changes are coming in addition to ones we implemented earlier this month at the Downtown Main Library:
- We doubled the number of computers available to customers by opening more of our second floor space
- We created a space on the second floor bridge where people who bring their own devices can work and recharge them
- We increased the time a customer can stay in our buildings from one to two hours
We continue to closely monitor community needs and customer usage patterns to ensure we’re providing the types of services in the format customers want. As community needs evolve, we do too. Thank you so much for your support of the Library and please don’t hesitate to contact us or visit. Our phone lines and all of our locations are open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. We’re happy to help!