A Message About COVID Operations from the Executive Director

August 25, 2021 | Library News

The Albany Public Library has updated our Continuation of Services Plan. This plan ensures that patrons can access core services in person during any stage of the COVID-19 pandemic. We do not, unless the state calls for it, foresee a shutdown as we did in the winter.

Why the change? We have learned a lot over the last 18 months and have a much better understanding of the services our patrons want and how to deliver them in a way that is safer for everyone. Thanks to the research done by REALM (REopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums, a multi-agency science-based project), we have a better understanding of fomite transmission and transmission by aerosol. We have a better understanding of what is safe, like browsing for books. Thanks to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) metrics and guidance regarding community transmission of the virus, we now know when other things are safe, like having indoor programs.

Under the new pandemic operations plan, the library will slowly implement phase restrictions on which in-person library services are permitted when the amount of community transmission of COVID-19 increases. And as community transmission decreases, the library will reintroduce those services. Regardless of phase, the core services will remain available to patrons in person at the branch libraries.

We plan to provide these high-demand services to patrons in person, even during times of higher COVID-19 transmission in our area. The core services include: pickup and checkout of material; browsing of book, music, movie, reference, and all other collections; computer and internet use; copying, printing, faxing, and scanning documents; and purchasing or replenishing CDTA Navigator bus passes.

We understand people need ready access to library materials, computers, and document services, especially during times of upheaval like the current pandemic. These are simple, but crucial, services that many in our community rely on the library to provide. The new plan shows our commitment to providing services regardless of the level of virus transmission.

We have reached the most difficult stage of the pandemic. As one staff member described it, June and July were the eye of the storm. Sometimes the tail end of a hurricane is the trickiest stage because we want to let our guard down.

If we want spontaneity back in our lives, if we are pining for the safety of 2019, then we need to do our part now. Mask up, get tested, avoid large crowds, take care of your neighbors, challenge misinformation, and if you haven’t, get vaccinated. It is time to beat this virus, we just have to do it together as a community. Our ability to make sacrifices is what has always made this country great.

Scott Jarzombek

Scott Jarzombek grew up as a loyal patron of his local public library, spending the bulk of his childhood poring over history books and attending comic book club. During high school, Scott combined his penchant for skateboarding and music with his interest in multimedia and photography as a member of the school library’s audiovisual club. During his junior year of college he became a “jack of all trades” for his college library director, which led him to apply to SUNY Albany’s Library Science Program. During his second semester in library school, Scott was hired at Albany Public Library and worked here as branch librarian for nine years. After leaving the organization in 2009 to develop his career, he returned to Albany in 2014 as the executive director.