The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about sweeping changes to the way we live, work and interact with one another. Tasks we take for granted, such as going to the grocery store, meeting with friends and even going to the library to find materials for research have been made somewhat more challenging to carry out. Here at the Indiana State Library, we do a lot to keep everything clean and to ensure that both patrons, and ourselves, have a fun and safe library experience.
Several studies, such as the one illustrated in this comprehensive American Library Association article, have noted that the virus survives on hard surfaces for about two or three days, and up to 24 hours on paper. Sanitization is top priority at the library, and the staff makes sure to clean and disinfect all surfaces as often and thoroughly as possible. In the case of books, which understandably do not do well to be soaked in cleaners on a regular basis, they are placed in isolation for a set period of time until it is safe to return the materials to the stacks.
Patrons are welcome to come inside the building, but to encourage social distancing and personal safety, that library is operating on an appointment-only schedule. If you are a walk-in patron and didn’t make a prior appointment when you stop by, don’t worry. If we have appointment slots available, we will still be able to help you with your research needs. Seating arrangements to encourage social distancing are available, hand sanitizer is provided at the information desks and also next to each elevator in order to keep things clean, and to reduce the spread of the virus and other bacteria. Are you unavailable to come to the library personally? Patrons can chat with a librarian through Ask-a-Librarian, with no charge.
As per county mandates, face masks are required for entry into the library facility. Don’t have a mask? No worries. We provide free paper masks at our circulation and information desks. Simply ask the librarian or desk attendant and we will be happy to give you one. If you live in Marion County and you’re seeking something a bit more permanent and portable, the city of Indianapolis and IndyGo have partnered to provide free cloth face masks that can be picked up at the Julia M. Carson Transit Center in downtown Indianapolis. Masks can also be ordered online.
We hope that these procedures and precautions allow to you to fully utilize all the services the Indiana State Library has to offer, all while keeping you safe and giving you peace of mind.
This post was written by Damon Lawrence, library technician 2, Indiana State Library.