Short Takes from the Bedford Free Public Library – November 11, 2020

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“It was great to be in the building -if only for 20 seconds,” said Library Trustee Mike Pulizzi as the Board discussed the successful launch of the indoor “contactless” pickup service at their November 10 meeting.

The timing was good. The last day of outdoor curbside pickup of library books was October 31, the day of the snowstorm.  Beginning November 2, patrons can now safely–and warmly–retrieve their requested materials inside the Meeting Room.

Here’s how to access the pick-up space in the Meeting Room: Come up the ramp on the High School side of the building, and enter through a marked door, grab the brown bag with your name on it, and exit speedily through the second door.  A Library staff member is on hand, behind a Plexiglas shield, to answer questions if needed.  We’re calling it the “In and Out” move.

In answer to the serious question of when the Library may begin a “quiet” reopening, Director Richard Callaghan is still playing it cautiously. He’s in communication with other library directors in our area but the Bedford focus is paramount.  He speaks frequently with Town Manager Sarah Stanton and her Covid-19 team and will be guided by their recommendations.

There is hope that by January it may be possible to have carefully controlled access to the computers, badly needed by those who may not have Internet access at home.  As with so many aspects of pandemic life, it all depends on what happens over the next couple of months.

Meantime, the building is being well cared for and improvements, such as the installation of new carpeting, are happening.  Currently, much of the physical space in the building is being used for packing those brown bags to meet patrons’ requests. Returned books must also be quarantined for 48 hours. The task is labor-intensive and, as Assistant Director Noreen O’Gara pointed out, requires a lot of calendar juggling, to ensure that only a limited number of staff are in the building at one time.

Staff News Notes

In other news, Callaghan reported that the search for a new technical librarian is going well. Some 20 applications have been received and four strong candidates have been identified. The search closes on November 20.

Lyndal Blodgett is retiring on November 20. O’Gara noted, “Lyndal joined us in November of 2014 and worked at the Circulation Desk; she handled Inter-Library Loans about 30 hours a week and is a very familiar presence for our patrons.” Before joining the Bedford staff, she worked at the Concord Free Public Library.

Callaghan said the Friends of the Library online bookstore is off to a great start. Volunteers from the Friends come in the building four nights a week, after staff leaves, to pack up books for online shoppers.

The next meeting of the Trustees is December 8.

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