APL Board Upholds Mask Mandate to Keep Branches Safe, Welcoming to Everyone

May 19, 2021 | Library News

Update — The board reaffirmed the mask mandate on July 13. The trustees will discuss the mask mandate again at the board’s Aug. 10 meeting.

Visitors and staff at Albany Public Library will continue to wear masks in the branches in an effort to keep APL safe and welcoming for everyone.

The library’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved a motion to “maintain our mask requirements in all library branches at this time” at an emergency meeting on May 18. The board will review the mask mandate at every board meeting and adjust it as new coronavirus data emerges and pandemic trends are assessed.

“The trustees have voted to continue with our Pandemic Operations Plan, and continue to require masks in our libraries,” said Board President Matthew Finn. “Our goal is to make our spaces safe and welcoming to everyone in our city.” The May 18 board meeting video can be viewed on the APL YouTube channel.

The mask policy requires everyone (over the age of 2) visiting or working in the library to wear a mask at all times when there. Many of the library’s patrons are young children, families, people with medical vulnerabilities, or unvaccinated. The NYS Department of Health’s latest guidance “strongly recommends masks in indoor settings where vaccination status of individuals is unknown.” For now, the library has chosen this more cautious option to ensure that APL is accessible, safe, and welcoming for all.

“The library will continue to monitor all federal, state, and local guidance, as well as observe how our neighbor organizations in Albany adjust to the changing COVID-19 protocols,” said APL Executive Director Scott C. Jarzombek. “This decision, like all of our policies around pandemic operations, is a temporary one that will be reviewed at each board meeting and adjusted whenever needed to reflect the current status of the pandemic in our community.”

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Stephanie Simon

Stephanie Simon is APL's public information officer, and manages the library's communications, public relations, and marketing efforts. No, she isn't a librarian, but feels as if she's among her people here at the library.