Continuation of Service Plan

CONTINUATION OF SERVICE PLAN: Guide to Reopening During COVID-19

Download a PDF of the Updated Plan (Updated 7/23/20)

Curbside Pickup Available at Five Branches (Arbor Hill/West Hill, Bach, Delaware, Howe, Pine Hills)

Exterior Book Drops are Open for Returns

Buildings Remain Closed to the Public

State of Emergency Policy

 

The Continuation of Service Plan is a document that guides the library through a phased approach to reopening buildings and resuming in-person services. 

PURPOSE

The library’s intentions are to develop a plan to reopen services according to information provided by UHLS Ad Hoc Committee on Reopening, CDC, county, state, and WHO guidelines. The reopening plan must also match the capacity of the organization, taking into consideration the health and well-being of staff and patrons.

HISTORY

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), library operations have been drastically reduced. This includes shutting down of physical operations and moving to an entirely virtual service model. The initial closure of all buildings, and shift to providing virtual services, started March 14, 2020.

The Continuation of Service Plan was approved May 12, and continues to be updated as new guidance emerges and the library carefully resumes in-person services. 

The library began a measured reopening process, according to the Continuation of Service Plan, with staff returning to work in the library buildings on June 15. Curbside pickup of materials by patrons began at the Bach Branch and the Delaware Branch on July 6.

FACTORS

Three factors are being taken into consideration while drafting this plan. First is staffing capacity. The library Administration recognizes that some staff may not be returning to work due to choice, family obligations, or health. This will also allow us to staff public service desks in a way that minimizes exposure. The second is the capacity of the Facilities Department to keep up a heightened cleaning protocol, including staffing and supplies. The third is the ability for library leadership to pivot in case of a “second wave” of coronavirus and the need for the organization to shut down operations or revert back to a previous phase in the face of another statewide outbreak. 

ADDENDUMS

The following pages of this document include the updated Continuation of Service Plan and four addendums: (1) APL Safety Plan, (2) APL State of Emergency Policy, (3) Staff Work and Schedule Expectations, (4) Curbside Pickup Guidance, and (5) COVID Quarantine Protocol for Staff.

PHASES

The APL Continuation of Service Plan phases are:
1A – Staff Return to Buildings
1B – Alternative Delivery Options for Material 2A – Opening of Selected Locations with Patron In-Building Use by Appointment Only
2B – Opening of Selected Locations with Strict Headcount
3A – Opening of All Locations with Headcount
3B – Regular Hours Resume with Headcount
4A – Unrestricted Regular Hours
4B – Easing Patron Restrictions
5 – New Normal Operations

PAUSE: VIRTUAL LIBRARY SERVICES

The library has been in this phase since March 14.
● Buildings closed and in-person service suspended.
● The library provides online reference and research.
● The library provides reference and research by phone.
● The library provides online programming and content.
● New investments in eContent material.
● Buildings and grounds maintained.
● The business office continues to function, both in building and virtually.

PHASE 1A: STAFF RETURN TO BUILDINGS

Phase 1A is contingent on when the Governor allows the Capital Region to reach phase 2 of the NYS Priority Industries for Re-Opening. This phase started June 15.
● Library facilities will remain closed to the public.
● Select buildings (those that will be opened in the next phase) will be cleaned and sanitized.
● Staff will be expected to complete job-specific duties and tasks. (Addendum 2)
● The library will provide online reference and research.
● The library will provide reference and research by phone.
● The library will provide online programming and content.
● New investments in eContent material.
● Buildings and grounds maintained.
● The business office continues to function, both in building and virtually.

PHASE 1B: ALTERNATIVE DELIVERY OPTIONS FOR MATERIAL

Phase 1B is contingent on when the Governor allows the Capital Region to reach phase 3 of the NYS Priority Industries for Re-Opening. This phase started July 6.
● Library materials will be provided to patrons via curbside pickup at limited locations.
● UHLS will begin delivery service to member libraries.
● Patrons may request material online or by phone.
● Book drops opened.
● Library facilities will remain closed to the public.
● Select buildings (those that will be opened in the next phase) will be cleaned and sanitized.
● Staff will be expected to complete job-specific duties and tasks. (Addendum 2)
● The library will provide online reference and research.
● The library will provide reference and research by phone.
● The library will provide online programming and content.
● New investments in eContent material.
● Buildings and grounds maintained.
● The business office continues to function, both in building and virtually.

PHASE 2A: OPENING OF SELECTED LOCATIONS WITH PATRON IN-BUILDING USE BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

Phase 2A is contingent on when the Governor allows the Capital Region to reach phase 4 of the NYS Priority Industries for Re-Opening. 
● Library facilities will be open at limited locations.
● In-person library transactions will be by appointment only.
● Hours will be reduced.
● Book drops opened.
● No programs.
● No Meeting Room use.
● No Study Room use.
● Limitations on certain services.
● Limited outreach and coordinated projects with external partners.
● Library materials will be provided with a curbside pick up.
● UHLS will provide delivery service.
● Patrons may request material online or by phone.
● Library facilities will remain closed to the public.
● Select buildings (those that will be opened in the next phase) will be cleaned and sanitized.
● Staff will be expected to complete job-specific duties and tasks. (Addendum 2)
● The library will provide online reference and research.
● The library will provide reference and research by phone.
● The library will provide online programming and content.
● New investments in eContent material.
● Building and grounds maintained.
● The business office continues to function, both in building and virtually.

PHASE 2B: OPENING OF SELECTED LOCATIONS WITH STRICT HEADCOUNT

Phase 2B is contingent on the library’s capability to expand services. Before it can begin, this phase will be presented by library administration to the Board of Trustees for approval.
● Select library facilities will open with a strict headcount of patrons allowed in the buildings.
● Library facilities will be open at limited locations.
● Limited hours.
● No programs.
● No Meeting Room use.
● No Study Room use.
● Limitations on certain services.
● Limited outreach and coordinated projects with external partners.
● Library materials will be provided with a curbside pick up.
● UHLS will provide delivery service.
● Patrons may request material online or by phone.
● Library facilities will remain closed to the public.
● Select buildings (those that will be opened in the next phase) will be cleaned and sanitized.
● Staff will be expected to complete job-specific duties and tasks. (Addendum 2)
● The library will provide online reference and research.
● The library will provide reference and research by phone.
● The library will provide online programming and content.
● New investments in eContent material.
● Buildings and grounds maintained.
● The business office continues to function, both in building and virtually.

PHASE 3A: OPENING OF ALL LOCATIONS WITH HEADCOUNT

Phase 3A is contingent on the library’s capability to expand services. Before it can begin, this phase will be presented by library administration to the Board of Trustees for approval.
● All library facilities will open with strict headcount for number of people allowed in buildings.
● Limited hours.
● No programs.
● No Meeting Room use.
● No Study Room use.
● Limitations on certain services.

● Limited outreach and coordinated projects with external partners.
● Library materials will be provided with a curbside pick up.
● UHLS will provide delivery service.
● Patrons may request material online or by phone.
● The library will provide online reference and research.
● The library will provide reference and research by phone.
● The library will provide online programming and content.
● New investments in eContent material.
● Buildings and grounds maintained.
● The business office continues to function, both in building and virtually.

PHASE 3B: REGULAR HOURS RESUME WITH HEADCOUNT

Phase 3B is contingent on the library’s capability to expand services. Before it can begin, this phase will be presented by library administration to the Board of Trustees for approval.
● Regular library hours resume at all locations.
● Library facilities will open with a strict headcount for the number of people allowed in buildings.
● No programs.
● No Meeting Room use.
● No Study Room use.
● Limitations on certain services.
● Limited outreach and coordinated projects with external partners.
● Library materials will be provided with a curbside pick up.
● UHLS will provide delivery service.
● Patrons may request material online or by phone.
● Library facilities will remain closed to the public.
● Select buildings (those that will be opened in the next phase) will be cleaned and sanitized.
● Staff will be expected to complete job-specific duties and tasks. (Addendum 1)
● The library will provide online reference and research.
● The library will provide reference and research by phone.
● The library will provide online programming and content.
● New investments in eContent material.
● Buildings and grounds maintained.
● The business office continues to function, both in building and virtually.

PHASE 4A: UNRESTRICTED REGULAR HOURS

Phase 4A is contingent on the library’s capability to expand services. Before it can begin, this phase will be presented by library administration to the Board of Trustees for approval.
● Patrons may be allowed in buildings without a headcount.
● No in-building programs.
● No Meeting Room use.
● No Study Room use.
● Limitations on certain services.
● Limited outreach and coordinated projects with external partners.
● Library materials will be provided with a curbside pick up.
● UHLS will provide delivery service.
● Patrons may request material online or by phone.
● The library will provide online reference and research.
● The library will provide reference and research by phone.
● The library will provide online programming and content.
● New investments in eContent material.

● Buildings and grounds maintained.
● The business office continues to function, both in building and virtually.

PHASE 4B: EASING PATRON RESTRICTIONS

Phase 4B is contingent on the library’s capability to expand services. Before it can begin, this phase will be presented by library administration to the Board of Trustees for approval.
● Library programming begins on a limited basis with hard caps for program attendance and number of programs offered in each building.
● Programming open to residents only.
● Meeting Room use limited to groups of no more than 10 people.
● No Study Room use.
● Limitations on certain service
● Limited outreach and coordinated projects with external partners.
● Library materials will be provided with a curbside pick up.
● UHLS will provide delivery service.
● Patrons may request material online or by phone.
● Library facilities will remain closed to the public.
● Select buildings (those that will be opened in the next phase) will be cleaned and sanitized.
● Staff will be expected to complete job-specific duties and tasks. (Addendum 1)
● The library will provide online reference and research.
● The library will provide reference and research by phone.
● The library will provide online programming and content.
● New investments in eContent material.
● Buildings and grounds maintained.
● The business office continues to function, both in building and virtually.

PHASE 5: NEW NORMAL OPERATIONS

Phase 4B is contingent on the library’s capability to expand services. Before it can begin, this phase will be presented by library administration to the Board of Trustees for approval.
Due to the possibility of a “second wave” of COVID-19 in the fall, the library will follow all established protocols, as listed here, until sometime in 2021 when a clear medical treatment for the virus is discovered. (These protocols are informed by CDC, county, state, and WHO guidelines.)
● Library programming on a limited basis with hard caps for in-person program attendance and the number of programs offered in each building.
● Meeting Room use on a limited basis with hard caps for in-person program attendance and the number of programs offered in each building.
● Study Room use by appointment.
● Social distancing of computers and equipment.
● Self-checkout stations.

ADDENDUM 1 | APL SAFETY PLAN

New York State is requiring that each business or entity, including those that have been designated as essential under Empire State Development’s Essential Business Guidance, must develop a written Safety Plan outlining how its workplace will prevent the spread of COVID-19. While many of the aspects of this requirement are already covered in the Albany Public Library’s: CONTINUATION OF SERVICE PLAN: Guide to Reopening During COVID-19, the remaining issues need to be clearly stated.

This document, an Addendum to the CONTINUATION OF SERVICE PLAN: Guide to Reopening During COVID-19, addresses these aspects.

1) PEOPLE
To ensure that employees comply with physical distancing requirements, Albany Public Library will:
• Ensure 6 ft. distance between personnel, unless safety or core function of the work activity requires a shorter distance. Any time personnel are less than 6 ft. apart from one another, personnel must wear acceptable face coverings.
• Tightly confined spaces will be occupied by only one individual at a time, unless all occupants are wearing face coverings. If occupied by more than one person, will keep occupancy under 50% of maximum capacity.
• Post social distancing markers using tape or signs that denote 6 ft. of spacing in commonly used and other applicable areas on the site (e.g. clock in/out stations, health screening stations)
• Limit in-person gatherings as much as possible and use tele- or video-conferencing whenever possible. Essential in-person gatherings (e.g. meetings) should be held in open, well-ventilated spaces with appropriate social distancing among participants.
• Establish designated areas for pick-ups and deliveries, limiting contact to the extent possible.

In cases where 6ft distance between individuals is not possible, we will ensure employee safety by:
• Providing the appropriate PPE.

General Guidelines
We are asking those Patrons who visit the library to practice the following recommendations provided by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19 and other viruses:

• Wear appropriate masking when coming to the Library (no exceptions)
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

2) PLACES
A: Protective Equipment
To ensure employees comply with protective equipment requirements, Albany Public Library will:
• Provide employees with an acceptable face covering at no-cost to the employee and have an adequate supply of coverings in case of replacement. APL maintains sufficient supplies of PPE, Gloves, masks etc. and will have supply at all times in all the branches. (Gloves will be disposable) 250 reusable and 250 disposable masks have been procured initially and will be replaced via established supply chains.

• Face coverings must be cleaned or replaced after use or when damaged or soiled, may not be shared, and should be properly stored or discarded. Staff will be required to launder their own reusable masks and will store them in their individual lockers or workspaces. Staff can request additional masks if theirs become damaged or soiled. Staff will be allowed to bring in their personally owned masks as long as they meet CDC recommended guidelines.
• Limit the sharing of objects and discourage touching of shared surfaces; or, when in contact with shared objects or frequently touched areas, wear gloves (trade-appropriate or medical); or, sanitize or wash hands before and after contact. Items such as computers and other technologies that will be shared among staff will be wiped down with approved sanitizer wipes or solutions before and after each use by an individual.

B: Hygiene and Cleaning
To ensure employees comply with hygiene and cleaning requirements, Albany Public Library will:
• Adhere to hygiene and sanitation requirements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Department of Health (DOH) and maintain cleaning logs on site that document date, time, and scope of cleaning. Michael Baldwin: Facilities Foreman is responsible for keeping and maintaining the cleaning log and it will be kept in the Foreman’s office at Pine Hills
• Provide and maintain hand hygiene stations for personnel, including handwashing with soap, water, and paper towels, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing 60% or more alcohol for areas where handwashing is not feasible. Signage will be posted in all restrooms and washing facilities with the CDC recommendations on hand-washing protocols. Hand soap and other sanitizing products will be kept at each Library Building in the assigned janitorial closets.
• Conduct regular cleaning and disinfection at least after every shift, daily, or more frequently as needed, and frequent cleaning and disinfection of shared objects (e.g. tools, machinery) and surfaces, as well as high transit areas, such as restrooms and common areas, must be completed. Cleaning schedules will be maintained and kept on file with Michael Baldwin: Facilities Foreman.

C: Communication
To ensure the business and its employees comply with communication requirements, Albany Public Library will:
• Post signage throughout the site to remind personnel to adhere to proper hygiene, social distancing rules, appropriate use of PPE, and cleaning and disinfecting protocols.
• Establish a communication plan for employees, visitors, and customers with a consistent means to provide updated information.
• Maintain a continuous log of every person, including workers and visitors, who may have close contact with other individuals at the work site or area; excluding deliveries that are performed with appropriate PPE or through contactless means; excluding customers, who may be encouraged to provide contact information to be logged but are not mandated to do so. Mary Coon will coordinate the log at the Washington Avenue and Arbor Hill/West Hill buildings. Rebecca Lubin will coordinate the log at the Delaware and Howe buildings. (And North Albany should it open) Deanna DiCarlo will coordinate the log at the Pine Hills and Bach buildings. All logs will be kept at the Circulation Desks in the front of each building.
• If a worker tests positive for COVID-19, Albany Public Library will immediately notify state and local health departments and cooperate with contact tracing efforts, including notification of potential contacts, such as workers or visitors who had close contact with the individual, while maintaining
confidentiality required by state and federal law and regulations. If a worker tests positive for COVID-19, an employee from the Human Resources department of Albany Public Library will contact state and local health departments.

3) PROCESS
A: Screening
To ensure the business and its employees comply with protective equipment requirements, Albany Public Library will:
Implement mandatory health screening assessment including a questionnaire and temperature check, before employees begin work each day and for essential visitors, asking about (1) COVID-19 symptoms in past 14 days, (2) positive COVID-19 test in past 14 days, and/or (3) close contact with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 case in past 14 days. Assessment responses must be reviewed every day and such review must be documented. A trained team leader will check your temperature and walk you through a short questionnaire when you enter the building. PPE will be provided for all team leaders as expressed in section 2A.

B: Contact Tracing
To ensure the business and its employees comply with contact tracing and disinfection requirements, Albany Public Library will:
• Have a plan for cleaning, disinfection, and contact tracing in the event of a positive case. Albany Public Library has already acquired and implemented CDC recommended cleaners, disinfection products and procedures and infected buildings will undergo a minimum of 72 hour quarantine period.
• Albany Public Library has established a daily Contact Tracing policy. All employees and registered building workers who were working on the same day in the building will be notified immediately and asked to self-quarantine for a 14 day period.

4) OTHER
To ensure that we stay up to date on the guidance that is being issued by the State, Albany Public Library will:
• Consult the NY Forward website at forward.ny.gov and applicable Executive Orders at governor.ny.gov/executiveorders on a periodic basis or whenever notified of the availability of new guidance.

ADDENDUM 2 | APL STATE OF EMERGENCY POLICY

PURPOSE:
Albany Public Library is committed to creating and maintaining a safe and healthy environment for both the public and the employees. If a state of emergency is declared a local, state, or federal officials or emergency action is deemed necessary by the Library’s Board of trustees, the library’s goal is to follow the health, safety, and operation guidelines enacted or recommended by those governments. To achieve this goal, the library may need to temporarily override some of its established policies in accordance with the type, severity, and duration of the current state of emergency.

POLICY:
In a state of emergency, this policy will take precedence and override conflicting policies in order to preserve and ensure the safety of the library’s staff and patrons.

The following are examples of policies that may be impacted:
• Albany Made Creative Lab
• Behavior
• Internet Use
• Room Use
• Service to Children
• Group Visits from Schools, Daycare, or Other Organizations
• Tutoring

Restriction of library services and operations will be determined in accordance with any applicable executive orders from the state and local government and executed by the library executive director in coordination with the Board of Trustees.

During a state of emergency, the administration is to create a continuation of services plan that outlines these restrictions and describes a plan for possible alternate service delivery methods. This plan will be implemented once passed by the Board of Trustees and reviewed at each scheduled and emergency board meeting.

Administration will communicate necessary operational changes to the staff, patrons, and the public as quickly as possible and as safety allows.

RESPONSIBILITY: The executive director is responsible for the administration of this policy.

PROCEDURE: As stated above.

APPROVED: June 9, 2020

ADDENDUM 3 | STAFF WORK & SCHEDULE EXPECTATIONS

Work Expectations during Phase 1A-2B
The intention of Phase 1A is about getting staff back into the building(s), and normalizing work again as safely as possible. This phase will give us the opportunity to orient and train staff to new safety, cleaning, and distancing protocols that will be put in place temporarily during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Staff is asked to stick to their assigned schedule and building. This will provide the administration with the ability to do internal contact tracing in case a staff member is to become ill or is asked to quarantine.

We ask that staff not leave the library premises during their shift. Visitors will be barred from all APL buildings, vehicles, and grounds. Staff will be asked to wash their hands at the beginning of each work shift and prior to leaving.

PHASE 1A-2B: SCHEDULES AND ASSIGNMENTS
Shifts
● Staff will be assigned to one of two teams: A-week or B-week.
● Staff will be on a rotation where they work one week at home and one week in the building.
● Staff will be assigned to a building and will only work in the building they are assigned.
● Staff will only work onsite the week they are assigned.
● Staff will be scheduled between 9 am and 6 pm.
● Staff may not work split shifts during the in-building week.
● Staff may not enter the building on weeks they are not assigned, or outside their assigned hours during their in-building week.

Number of Staff in Building
There will be a limit to the amount of staff in each building at the same time. We are waiting for guidance based on square footage.

Hours of Operation During Onsite Weeks
● 9 am to 6 pm
● Monday through Friday

WORK EXPECTATIONS
Services Staff
PHASE 1A
● Supply, technology, and furniture inventory.
● Virtual reference.
● Continuation of online programs and content creation.
● Collection Management: Inventory, shelf reading, weeding, and book transfers.

PHASE 1B
● Pull material for patrons.
● Handle returned material according to protocols.
● Check in UHLS-delivered material from courier according to protocols.
● Virtual reference.
● Continuation of online programs and content creation.

PHASE 2A
● Set appointments for library patrons.
● Check material out for patrons.
● Pull material for patrons.
● Handle returned material according to protocols.
● Check in UHLS-delivered material from courier according to protocols.
● Virtual reference.
● Continuation of online programs and content creation.

PHASE 2B
● Monitor the amount of patrons in the building.
● Set appointments for library patrons.
● Check material out for patrons.
● Pull material for patrons.
● Handle returned material according to protocols.
● Check in UHLS-delivered material from courier according to protocols.
● Virtual reference.
● Continuation of online programs and content creation.

Operations Staff
PHASES 1A-2B
● Finishing specific projects and repairs.
● Large- and small-scale projects that we have been putting off.
● Normal job tasks and assignments, as required.

Facilities
PHASES 1A-2B
● Each building will be assigned a member of the facilities team.
● Staff will work under direction of Facilities Manager as assigned.

ACCOMMODATION REQUESTS
Staff who believe they will not be able to work due to obligations or health, please reach out to the Human Resources Department. We will work with all staff to make sure that their concerns are addressed.

ADDENDUM 4 | CURBSIDE PICKUP SERVICE GUIDANCE

When the library is in Phase 1B it will begin providing alternative delivery methods for material. One of those methods will be curbside pickup of material at select locations. The following provides guidance for this service.

Requesting Items

  • Patrons may request items for pick up via Encore (online catalog on APL website), email, or phone call to select locations.
  • Patrons may request up to ten (10) items per library card, per day. Youth MyCARDs are allowed up to three (3) items per day.
  • To support social distancing efforts, locations offering pickup are operating with very limited staff. Wait times for holds placed online, or via phone and email, will likely be longer than usual.
  • When an item is available for pickup, staff will notify the patron and schedule a pickup time at select locations

Picking Up Items

  • Door and sidewalk signs at these two branches will include instructions for pickup and the hours of operation.  
  • Reserved parking spaces near the front doors will be for curbside pickup only.
  • Direct hand-off will be avoided whenever possible.
  • Patrons are required to wear face masks for all library pickups — either in car or walkup.
  • Patrons will be asked to confirm the last 4 digits of their library card number when picking up their items.
  • Staff — wearing gloves, masks, and face shields — will deliver items in a contact-free manner.
    • Drive Up — Staff will deliver a bag of items on a cart to the car, and then place items in the trunk or back seat of the car. Patrons stay inside their vehicles during the transaction.
    • Walk Up — Staff will place a bag of items outside by the front door of the branch. Once staff are back inside the building, the patron can retrieve their bag of library items.

Returning Items

  • Library materials cannot be returned during pickup appointments.
  • Patrons are asked to return items in the exterior book drops only. Six APL branches have exterior book drops that can be used for returning items: Arbor Hill/West Hill, Bach, Delaware, Howe, Pine Hills, and Washington Ave.

Important Reminders for Patrons

  • All APL buildings remain closed to the public.
  • Lobbies, restrooms, computers, and other spaces will not be accessible.
  • At this time, library staff are unavailable for in-person assistance. 

ADDENDUM 5 | COVID QUARANTINE PROTOCOL FOR STAFF

What to do if you were exposed to COVID-19 or suspect an infection:

  • Do not return to work.
  • Contact HR and your supervisor.
  • Seek a medical diagnosis.
  • Request medical documents for submission to Human Resources.

What to do if you have traveled from a quarantine state:

  • Do not return to work.
  • Contact HR and your supervisor.
  • Quarantine for 14 days starting on the date you returned home.
  • If a portion of your quarantine time falls within your regularly scheduled work-from-home time, then you may work from home that week at full pay.

What to do in order to return to work:

  • Communicate results to HR before coming back to work. (Negative test or 14 days of quarantine have passed.)
  • Sick, those seeking a diagnosis, or exposed staff qualify for FFCRA – Emergency Sick Pay (expires December 31, 2020).*
  • Complete FFCRA form if you wish to use Emergency Sick Pay.
  • Do not return to work until you have been cleared through Human Resources.
  • Once cleared by Human Resources, contact your supervisor about possible changes to location or schedule.

* This is not the only qualifier for FFCRA, speak with HR for specifics.

 

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