APL Updates Operations Plan & Commits to In-Person Core Services throughout Pandemic

August 20, 2021 | Library News

Albany Public Library has updated its Continuation of Services Plan in an effort to ensure that patrons can access core services in person during any stage of the COVID-19 pandemic. The updated plan follows Centers for Disease Control (CDC) metrics and guidance regarding community transmission of the virus. The plan was approved by the APL Board of Trustees this month and goes into effect on Wednesday, Aug. 25.

“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,” said Scott C. Jarzombek, APL executive director. “The goal of the updated plan is to provide high-demand services to patrons in person, even during times of higher COVID-19 transmission in our area.”

The plan calls for the following services to be available during all phases: 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.

“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,” Jarzombek said.

The CDC guidance uses two data points: the number of COVID cases per 100,000 residents in a county and the percent positive. It then puts a county into one of four color-coded phases of community transmission: low (blue), moderate (yellow), substantial (orange), and high (red). APL is using those metrics and phases for Albany County to guide its pandemic operations. As the amount of community transmission increases, the library will slowly implement phase restrictions on which in-person library services are permitted. 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.

“The updated plan allows us to keep core services available and multiple branches open during this pandemic following the most up-to-date guidance from health professionals,” Jarzombek said.

APL is monitoring the CDC metrics and will announce the phase and any necessary restrictions on Wednesday, Aug. 25. The library continues to require everyone over the age of two wear a mask when visiting the branches.

See the phase chart that guides changes in operations during the pandemic.

View the complete Pandemic Operations Plan.

Stephanie Simon

Stephanie Simon is manager of APL's Communication and Creative Services Department, which provides content and information for the library's website, social media, publications, videos, podcasts, and other outlets. Stephanie also manages APL's public relations and marketing efforts.