Mahomet Public Library and COVID-19

From the Mahomet Public Library Board of Trustees

Statement on Library Services during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Temporary Policy: Facility Use during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Current Safety Procedures

As we learn more about the transmission of COVID-19 and/or receive new recommendations from health officials, some of our safety procedures may change. If you have any questions or concerns about our procedures, please contact John Howard, Director, at Director@MahometPublicLibrary.org.

Masks and Social Distancing 

  • Face Masks. Staff and patrons must wear masks that cover their noses and mouths. If you are not able to wear a mask in the library, please call us and ask us to place your materials in a pickup locker or arrange for other accommodations.

  • The Six Feet Rule. Staff and visitors are asked to maintain at least a six foot distance from others in the library (except from those in their own family party).

Working in the Library

  • Patron Computers. We have a small number of patron computers available and their use is limited to 60 minutes per day.

  • Working/Studying. Individuals or small family groups may work at our tables around the perimeter of the library.

  • Cleaning. Please notify a staff member when you finish at a computer station or table so we may clean it before the next patron uses it.

Groups and Gathering

  • Meeting and Study Rooms. During this period, our meeting and study rooms are closed to public use.

  • Tutoring. Due to social distance guidelines for those not from the same household, we regret that we cannot offer the library as a location for tutoring.

  • Lingering. While some seats are available at tables for individuals to work, we have removed or taped off other furniture to discourage visiting or lingering in the library.

  • Limited Capacity. Current local health guidelines limit the number of people who can be in the library at one time. If we reach this limit, some patrons may be asked to wait outside or in their cars until they can be admitted.

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Cooking our Books: a new materials processing plan to reduce wait times

Announced September 15, 2020

Since reopening our book returns, we have been quarantining items for several days to ensure that the items are COVID-free before we handle them and return them to our shelves for others to use. As many of you are aware, this means that items remain on your account for several days after you return them and it has also led to long wait times for items you’ve requested.

Our friends at the Urbana Free Library have been using moderate heat to treat their items, which shortens the wait time considerably without damaging the items. They showed us their system, we ordered the necessary equipment, and we are now, essentially, cooking our books.

Because it takes some time to bring the ovens to temperature and maintain that temperature for the appropriate length of time, it will take several days for us to get caught up. Eventually, we expect to process items within two days after you return them.

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Effective September 21, library hours will change

Beginning Monday, September 21, the library hours will change to:

  • Monday-Friday: 9am-6pm (no midday closure)
  • Saturday-Sunday: 1-5pm

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Effective September 4, materials will be quarantined for 8 days

Due to new research, we will quarantine items for 8 days before processing them, which means they will remain on your account until we are ready to handle them and check them in. There will be no overdue fines during this time, so please don’t worry that the items remain on your account.

Delivery will also take longer, because libraries are quarantining items for 7 days on both ends of the transfer process. 

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Effective July 24, book drops are open 24x7

Beginning Friday, July 24, you may return items through our book drops at any time. 

Items will be Quarantined

We will continue quarantining items for 5 days before processing them, which means they will remain on your account until we are ready to handle them and check them in. There will be no overdue fines during this time, so please don’t worry that the items remain on your account.

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Effective July 1, patrons can request items from other libraries

Beginning July 1, you may request items from those libraries in our system that are open and sharing materials. If you get an error when trying to place a request, it's likely that the owning library is not yet participating in sharing items.

Delivery will take longer, because libraries are quarantining items for 72 hours on both ends of the transfer process. 

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Effective June 8, the Mahomet Public Library will open with Reduced Services

We will open to allow patrons to check out materials and use computers and Wi-Fi for shortened periods. Our plans are designed to reduce the risk to our staff and patrons as much as possible. We regret that this includes discouraging our patrons from lingering in the library. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact John Howard, Director.

Reduced and Special Hours

We will have reduced hours to discourage lingering and to allow time to clean between shifts.

Monday-Friday

9am-10am: for elderly and high risk patrons only
10am-1pm
3-6pm

Saturday and Sunday

1-5pm

Protective Measures

  • Face Masks. Staff and patrons will wear masks. If you are not able to wear a mask in the library, please call us and ask us to place your materials in a pickup locker or arrange for curbside pickup.

  • Protective Shield. There will be a protective shield at our first circulation station. This is the only station where you can receive assistance with checkout. Our self-check stations will be open as usual.

  • Regular cleaning. We will clean touch screens, counters, keyboards and mice, and bathroom surfaces after every shift. Because we cannot clean after every patron’s use, we encourage you to wash your hands after touching surfaces in our library.

  • Symptoms. We ask that you do not come to the library if you have symptoms associated with COVID-19 illnesses. We are happy to place items for you in our pick up lockers or deliver them to you via curbside service.

Computer and Wi-Fi Use 

We will disable many of our public computers to maintain social distancing. We will limit use of the remaining computers to 30 minutes per day with no extensions.

Patrons are welcome to bring their own computers and use our Wi-Fi. Please leave all furniture where it is. We have arranged the library so that those working will maintain proper social distance.

When you are finished working at one of our tables, please notify a staff member so we can clean the surface before the next patron uses it.

Social Distancing

  • The Six Feet Rule. Staff and visitors are asked to maintain at least a six foot distance from others in the library (except from those in their own family party). There will be waiting spots marked at the circulation desk to help you maintain your distance.

  • Meeting and Study Rooms. During this period, our meeting and study rooms are closed to public use.

  • Children’s Area. We have removed puzzles, toys, and the climbing furniture from our children’s area to discourage patrons from lingering.

  • Furniture. We have arranged the furniture to allow a few people to work on personal computers, but we are discouraging patrons from sitting and reading or visiting. We have indicated which seats should not be used at all. Please do not move any furniture.

  • Coffee. We have removed the Keurig station for now.

  • Tutoring. Due to social distance guidelines, we regret that we cannot offer the library as a location for summer tutoring.

  • Limited Capacity. Current local health guidelines limit the number of people who can be in the library at one time. When possible, please limit the number of family members who visit at the same time.

Other Programs and Services

  • Programs. All summer library programming will consist of online programs or take-and-make project kits.

  • Notary Public. We will offer Notary Public services by appointment only.

  • Interlibrary Loan. Patrons will not be able to request items from other libraries until this service resumes throughout the library system. The earliest this will happen is mid-July. 

Returned Items

We will place returned items into quarantine before we check them in and put them on our shelves. This means that the items will remain on the patron’s account until the quarantine is over. We will not charge overdue fees for items that are delayed due to quarantine.

Book Donations

We cannot accept book donations during this time.

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When will the Library Building Open? 

As our region moves into phase 3 on May 29, we are as eager to open our doors as you are to visit!

Library trustees and staff are working hard to develop a plan that lets us provide more services to you, while still protecting the health of our staff and visitors. 

We hope to have news for you soon!

Keep watching our social media and this information page for updates. 

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Effective May 22, The Mahomet Public Library will open the Book Drops

Beginning Friday, May 22, you may return items through our book drops. 

Hours

The book drops will be unlocked only when staff members are providing phone service:

  • Monday-Friday, 9am-12pm and 2-5pm

  • Saturday and Sunday, 1-4pm

Items will be Quarantined

We will quarantine incoming items before processing them, which means they will remain on your account until we are ready to handle them and check them in. There will be no overdue fines during this time, so please don’t worry that the items remain on your account.

No Rush!

Nothing is due before June 7, so you do not need to rush to return your items if you are not finished with them.

No Book Donations

We cannot accept book donations during this time.

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Effective May 6, the Mahomet Public Library will open Phone Support and Pick-Up Lockers

 

Phone Support Returns

We will provide phone support during the following hours:

  • Monday-Friday, 9am-12pm and 2-5pm

  • Saturday and Sunday, 1-4pm

We will continue to monitor Facebook Messenger and our email account, Staff@MahometPublicLibrary.org. You can reach us through these methods when our phone service is not available.

Locker Service Reopens

Materials on the hold shelf or present in the library can be requested and picked up via the library’s pick-up lockers as space is available. New interlibrary loans will not be delivered during this period. To find Mahomet Library items, search the library catalog, using "My Library" in the "Limit By" field.

You can request items by placing hold requests through the catalog or by contacting us by phone, email, or Facebook Messenger.

We expect this service to be extremely popular, so please note that:

  • We will fill requests in the order in which they are received. In the beginning, it make take a few days for a request to make it to the front of the queue and be placed in the lockers.

  • We will call you when your items are ready to be placed in a locker.

  • You will need to pick up your items within 24 hours. If you do not do so, your items will be removed from the locker and placed in the back of the queue of items waiting for lockers.

We will clean the keypad and lockers at least twice each day, but please remember that others will be touching these surfaces. Be sure to follow the same handwashing and safety procedures you would use when touching other public surfaces, such as grocery carts or credit card machines.

Book Drops Remain Locked

The book drops remain locked, so please keep your items. No overdue fines will be charged while we are closed. Due dates have been extended until June 7.

Some of you have asked why we are not accepting returns at this time. The Institute of Museum and Library Services, OCLC, Inc. and Battelle are collaborating to develop safe reopening practices in light of COVID-19. Among other concerns, they will be addressing the safest methods for managing returned materials during this outbreak.

When we have a plan in place for safely handling and cleaning returned items, we will open the book drops and accept returns.

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Effective March 20, Illinois Residents will be under a Shelter-in-Place Order

Our Phone Hours Will Cease

As of 6pm on Friday, March 19, we will no longer have staff in the library to answer phones. 

Contact Us for Help

We will be monitoring Facebook Messenger and our email accounts. (See our Contact Us page for our email addresses.) Our response times will be slower, but we will get back to you. 

Feel free to contact us with questions about using online resources or problems with your accounts. 

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Effective March 17th, the Mahomet Public Library will be Closed to the Public

 

As part of the overall community response to the COVID-19 situation, the Mahomet Public Library will close to the public for an indefinite period beginning Tuesday, March 17th. This decision was made by library leaders in order to protect the health of staff and patrons and to help to slow the spread of the virus in the community.

“It breaks our hearts to have to close our doors, even temporarily” said John Howard, Library Director “but the safety of every person in Mahomet is our priority.” 

Keep Your Books

During the closure period, library staff members are extending the loan period of ALL items already checked out to early May and are asking the public to hold onto library materials they have until the library re-opens. Book drops at the library will be locked effective March 17th. No overdue fees will be assessed during this time.

Contact Us for Help

Although the library will be closed to the public, library staff members will be available to answer phone calls, assist with account issues and help with e-resources from noon to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday during the closure. Patrons may also reach out for assistance via Facebook messenger or visit the library website for more contact options.

Checkout New Materials 

Materials on the hold shelf or present in the library can be requested and picked up via the library’s pick-up lockers as space is available. New interlibrary loans will not be delivered during this period. To find Mahomet Library items, search the the library catalog, using "My Library" in the "Limit By" field. 

Use us Online

Patrons are also strongly urged to review the online resources offered by the library, including eBooks, eAudiobooks, and eMagazines. 

AARP Tax Aide Service Suspended.

AARP has suspended its Tax Aide Service at all locations, including the Mahomet Public Library, until further notice.

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Effective March 12th, Mahomet Public Library Programs Canceled Through April 13

This decision has been made for the health and safety of the community due to concerns over COVID-19. We are joining with the public libraries in Champaign and Urbana in taking this step as a means of protecting the health of our patrons and staff.

At this time, the library will remain open regular hours.

What Is Canceled?

  • All programs such as story times, classes, workshops, book clubs, etc.

  • All Library events and partner events taking place inside Library buildings

  • Outside groups using the library will be contacted by library staff and may be canceled on a case by case basis. Larger groups will almost certainly be canceled.

What Is Not Canceled?

  • Regular library services such as material checkout, public computers, WiFi, etc.

  • 1-on-1 activities such as AARP Tax Aide

  • Small study room bookings

In addition, we want to share how we are addressing the concerns over Coronavirus in our public spaces:

  • Elevated cleaning measures

  • Reminders for staff and patrons of proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette

  • Additional facial tissues available throughout the library

  • Toys and puzzles are being put away for the time being

  • Routine wiping and disinfecting of frequently touched surfaces

  • Staff are encouraged to stay home if they are ill or have a fever

Please note that the Library is unable to comprehensively sanitize every single item that is checked out and as such, patrons are advised to wash their hands after handling materials and avoid touching their faces.

We would like to remind visitors that libraries are shared public spaces. For the health and safety of others, please be thoughtful about coming into a library if you are exhibiting any COVID-19 symptoms. Please do your part to stop the spread of germs and disease.

Unable to visit the library? Use our digital collection.

If you prefer not to visit a library in person during this time, you can borrow from Mahomet's large digital collection of e-books, audiobooks and e-magazines.

Pick-Up Lockers

The library also provides 24 hour pickup lockers that allow materials to be checked out and picked up without leaving your car.

Any questions should be directed to Library Director John Howard at 217.586.2611 or via email at Director@mahometpubliclibrary.org