Public Library Service in a Strange New World

It’s been 100 years since the U.S. has faced such a potentially widespread infectious disease crisis. Librarians are naturally curious but I doubt if many of us has had time to read about how libraries responded to that epidemic. We have been too busy planning, shredding those plans when new information emerges and starting over again. Perhaps the best way to think about this situation is to imagine an NFL game plan. You do your best and fix things at halftime.

Here is where we are as of this moment The Library is closed to the public. This means, of course, that all programs, meeting room reservations, tax and fax services are all out of business for the time being. Our outreach services are also suspended until further notice.

The due dates on all material you may have out right now has been changed to April 20. That date will be moved farther out if/when necessary. Please return all material to our book drop, including DVDs and CDs, that we normally want returned at the main desk. If you have an item that is too large to fit through the book drop, like a board game or a large audiobook, please keep them at home until the Library re-opens.

The courier service between libraries is suspended until April 5, so no items you may have requested from other libraries are going to arrive. Holds cannot be picked up so any items from our collection you may have requested will be kept aside until the Library re-opens.

Starting Monday, March 23 we will have minimal staff in the Library to answer phone calls between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. We are very sorry if you have left a message and we have not yet responded. On Monday, we will start returning those calls. Here is a weird little deal you may find amusing in these trying times. As of this  morning, we had over 300 messages on our answering machine. Literally hundreds of those calls were from a barber shop halfway across Kansas. Their phone number has been spoofed by an auto-dialer. 32 years in the biz and I have never seen that one. So, we have precedents within precedents.

The Library offers free streaming movies and music, ebooks and e-audiobooks from various sources. If you are a self-starter, go to our website, click on “Digital Content” and follow the directions provided there for hoopla, the Sunflower eLibrary and Flipster. If you need assistance, please contact us by phone when we have staff in the building on Monday, 913- 682-5666.

Please remember that everything is subject to change based on directives issued by the proper authorities. The best place to check for our updates is www.leavenworthpubliclibrary.org.