Director Richard Callaghan outlined plans for “restricted” access to the building at Tuesday’s meeting of the Trustees of the Bedford Free Public Library.
Phase One is to make the computers, printers, and study carrels available to users, with May 13 as the target date for this service. The Library staff is keenly aware of the need to begin providing these services to residents who may not have internet access at home. To make an appointment patrons may call the Library at 781-275-9440 and press 3 for the Reference Desk. Patrons will also be able to email the Reference Department at firstname.lastname@example.org. The hours will likely be mornings from 10 a.m. to noon and afternoons from 2 to 4 p.m.
The Director emphasized that safety for both patrons and staff is paramount. Many staff members have not yet been vaccinated, so caution is the watchword. Outdoor curbside pickup of Library materials, which resumed on April 5, will continue into the future. This service has proven so popular with users that Callaghan sees it continuing even though, as the building gradually reopens, the need for it may dwindle over time.
But what about coming inside the Library to browse? Callaghan and Assistant Library Director Noreen O’Gara are optimistic about opening the building to patrons two days a week, after Memorial Day. There would be restrictions on the number of users in the building at one time and, as with all Town buildings, mask-wearing would be required. The Trustees suggested a time limit of 30 minutes per user for browsing, which would likely be limited to the first floor.
As for “back to normal,” if all goes well this could happen by Labor Day or possibly as early as July. “It’s a balancing act with much planning involved,” said Callaghan.
Currently, much of the interior space is being used to retrieve and pack books for curbside pickup, which Callagan describes as an extremely labor-intensive effort on the part of staff. As he explained, it’s not possible to throw a switch and return the building immediately to its pre-pandemic condition but this will happen over time. Some libraries in the area have opened fully and then have been forced to close. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Bedford has focused on a more measured and cautious approach.
Trustees Support Indigenous People’s Day
The Trustees voted to support the town in changing the name of the holiday on the second Monday in October from Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day. Chair Michael Pulizzi was instructed to speak in favor of this change at the Annual Town Meeting on May 15.
New Trustee Welcomed
The Trustees welcomed newly-elected Trustee Fahad Alden and, following tradition, promptly elected him secretary, as task always assigned to the newest board member. Pulizzi was elected chair and Elizabeth Hacala, vice-chair. Alma Hart was elected a member of the Library Corporation Board, joining Rachel Field and Robin Grace.
The Great Squirrel Caper
Click this link to read about a recent visitor to the Children’s Room.