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Library Preparing to Resume In-Person Services

June 10, 2020 | Library News

Updated 6/17/20 — The exterior book drops are now open 24/7 at Arbor Hill/West Hill, Bach, Delaware, Howe, Pine Hills, and Washington Ave. branches. You may return library books, DVDs, magazines, CDs, and museum passes in the book drops at any time. 

Albany Public Library is beginning to prepare for the resumption of in-person services with the return of staff to the buildings.

“We are excited to see staff return to work in our library buildings after several long months of working from home creating virtual programs, providing information through a virtual reference desk, and crafting plans to resume in-person services for our patrons,” said APL Executive Director Scott C. Jarzombek.

“Getting staff into the buildings is an important first step. It allows us to implement safety protocols, adjust furniture and work stations for social distancing, and prepare the libraries for safe patron interactions,” he said.

When the Capital Region was cleared to enter New York State reopening Phase 2 last week, the library officially entered Phase 1A of its Continuation of Service Plan. Facilities staff began regular schedules in the buildings on June 8, and the rest of the staff will report to work in the buildings on June 15. The library is following state guidelines regarding staff placement and scheduling.

“After staff are in place, we will begin gearing up to open our book drops and start curbside pickup for requested items. These services are expected to start in the next few weeks,” Jarzombek said. Both services are in APL Phase 1B.

When the book drops open sometime next week, patrons can return all of the library books, DVDs, and other items they have at home. APL is a fine-free library, so there will be no late fines for any returned items. To ensure the safety of materials, returned items will be quarantined for 72 hours before they are checked in and put back into the collection for others to borrow.

Curbside pickup for requested items is the next service in line and will begin at select library branches a few weeks after the book drops open. Staff are finalizing a plan where patrons can use several methods to contact the library and request items from the APL collection that will be brought to a specific branch for contactless pickup.

After curbside pickup is up and running, patrons will be welcome to visit select library branches for appointment-only services. Details for this in-person service, which falls into APL Phase 2A, are also being finalized.

“The safety of our staff and patrons is paramount in our phased approach to resuming in-person services. We designed the plan so we could make adjustments along the way to account for changes in public health and safety recommendations and staff capacity,” Jarzombek said.

Moving into each subsequent phase of the APL plan is contingent on the library’s capability to expand services and current public health recommendations.

Read the full Continuation of Service Plan

Read about current virtual services and resources

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.