From the Director’s Desk

Edward Falcone, Interim Library Director

June 27

Greetings, Mamaroneck patrons! We’ve just completed our first full week of service at the Library. Based on our experience, I feel cautiously optimistic that we’re on the right track and that we can begin a slow increase in our weekly hours. Starting Monday, the Library will be open from 10 am to 3 pm. Services remain limited, and parts of the building are still off-limits to the public, but we are on a steady march to normalcy at the moment.

Traffic in the Library has been manageable, everyone is wearing face coverings (or taking a complementary mask from us), and social distancing is being observed with an occasional reminder from the staff. It’s nice to see the bookshelves start to fill up, thanks to a massive delivery of backorders from our vendors this week.

For me, it is most gratifying to overhear the comments from patrons who missed us and are happy to be back in the building; many are on a first-name basis with the staff and it sometimes sounds like a continuous family reunion. It reminds me why I became a librarian in the first place (wealth and fame were secondary considerations J)

Watch this space for further updates. We’re so looking forward to seeing you again.

Edward Falcone

Interim Director
Contact me by email:  MPLDdirector@wlsmail.org 

 

June 20

Greetings, Mamaroneck patrons, and happy summer (finally)! We reached a minor milestone this past week in preparation for opening day: on Thursday and Friday, we tried a soft opening of the building. With no prior announcement, we propped open the doors and welcomed anyone who happened to come in. To our surprise and delight, dozens of patrons paid us a visit and left with smiles on their faces.

Most everyone observed the new normal (masked faces and proper spacing), and it gave us confidence that our official opening on Monday will be manageable. We are starting with limited services and shorter hours, ramping up to a more robust schedule next month if things go well. The expressions of gratitude and appreciation from patrons brought smiles to our faces as well, and we thank you for your expressions of support.

Watch this space for further updates. We’re so looking forward to seeing you again.

Edward Falcone

Interim Director

 

June 12

Hi, Mamaroneck Patrons! We’re continuing to plan for the reopening of the library, and I’m happy to report that some good news is on the horizon. But what can you expect when the doors finally open?

If you’ve done any retail lately, some experiences will seem all too familiar. The sneeze guards are up, there’s blue spacing tape on the floors, and face masks are still mandatory. The hand sanitizing dispensers are filled up, and we’ve beefed up our cleaning staff and cleaning routines. We may limit building capacity and/or time limits to ensure social distancing.

Our services will be limited at first. Right now, it looks like only the main floor will be open, and you will only be able to check out books and use the Internet terminals. Hopefully, the children’s room and the teen space will open a few weeks later. And, of course, everything depends on overall health trends remaining on a positive trajectory. We’re writing the rule book as we go along, with the health of our patrons and staff foremost on our minds.

Watch this space for further updates. We’re so looking forward to seeing you again.

Edward Falcone

Interim Director

 

June 1

 

Happy June, everyone! New month, new information to share. New York is slowly opening, and I’m happy to report that the staff at the Mamaroneck Public Library are working to get the library ready for service. We’re completing a deep cleaning of the building, checking in the thousands of books that were returned in the book drop, and most importantly, finishing up a safety plan that will guide us in handling COVID-19 issues. I don’t have an opening date to announce yet, but that will come soon.

 

I hope you’re as anxious to see the library open as we are. Until next time, be safe and well!

 

May 23, 2020

Finally, some good news on the horizon. Governor Cuomo just announced that Westchester can begin reopening for business starting on Tuesday the 26th. The reopening process will happen in phases, and libraries have been placed in Phase Four. With two weeks of spacing between phases, and assuming no health reversals, our library might be allowed to open in early July.

Things will be a little different when patrons return to the building. Social distancing rules will still be in effect, live programming is on hold for the foreseeable future, and some parts of the library may be off limits to the public to prevent crowding. We’re working on a reopening plan now, and we will try to make your visit as pleasant as possible under the circumstances. Stay tuned for more information. For now, be well and enjoy this holiday weekend.

 

 

May 12, 2020

I went into the library again today, my goal is to visit at least once each week. It was just me, the custodial staff, and the senior clerk in a building that should be teeming with patrons. New York is slowly opening, but the state is taking a slow and cautious path that is pointing to at least one more month of closures for Westchester libraries.

In the meantime, we are starting to imagine what our service will be like when we do reopen. We’re moving seating and computer terminals to ensure adequate spacing between patrons and staff, and we’ll be packing up all the toys and other fun manipulatives that children love to play with in the Children’s Room. And yes, you will be seeing those sneeze guards that are part of the new normal in our lives.

There is a library system meeting this Thursday, and I’m hoping to hear some positive news. All 38 county libraries are anxious to open their doors and resume operations. Until then, be well and stay safe.

 

May 5, 2020

Hello, Mamaroneck, and Happy Cinco De Mayo. I went into the library for a few hours today, I’ve been trying to get there at least once a week lately. I had some office work to do – signing timesheets, approving purchases, and catching up with our business manager and building supervisor. It was an odd experience, working in a nearly-empty building and knowing that on a normal day it would have been filled with patrons.

The Governor’s plan to reopen the state is slowly revealing itself, and it looks like schools and libraries are at the end of the list. At this point, I would guess that the earliest opening for us will be mid or late June. Between now and then, we will be working on plans to restore services in ways that are consistent with social distancing, continual cleaning, and related practices. It will be an interesting challenge. Until next time, be well and stay safe.

  

 

May 1, 2020

Hello, Mamaroneck, and Happy May Day (or Day 46 of NY-Pause). Yesterday, I participated in a Zoom meeting with my fellow Westchester library directors. Usually, we meet every month at our system headquarters in Elmsford, but we haven’t been together as a group since February. As you might expect, everyone had the same thoughts and questions: When can we reopen? How do we make the buildings ready for service? What issues will we face in maintaining facilities on an on-going basis? Work is already underway to sketch out a plan that will satisfy patrons and staff alike; knowing that this group consists of bright, collegial problem-solvers, I’m sure we will be ready when the time comes.

And when will that day be? The Pause order ends on May 15th, but opening New York will come in stages, with factors such as region, infection rate, and type of industry all playing a part. It’s hard to tell where libraries fit into the plan, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a mid-June opening or later. I hope I’m wrong. Until next time, be safe and try to enjoy the warm spring weather in store for us this weekend.

 

April 29, 2020

Words can seem inadequate during these crazy-sad-disruptive times. However, librarians are supposed to have some facility with words, so I’m starting this column as one way to stay in touch with the Mamaroneck community while our library is closed. I hope you’ll find it useful.

First, let me introduce myself. After a 40-year career as a librarian, I retired this past December from my position as director of the Yonkers Public Library. Soon thereafter, I was asked to consider serving as the interim director at Mamaroneck; you may remember that your own director, Sue Riley, had also just retired and a search was underway for her replacement. I started work in mid-February for what was expected to be a 3-month assignment (cue the ‘Gilligan’s Island’ theme song).

Fast-forwarding to today, the recruiting of a new director has been delayed, the library has been closed since March, and the focus of my job has changed significantly. Our staff, sheltered in place and hard at work, is finding new ways to provide library services to patrons online. The county library system, which supports and coordinates the work of Westchester’s 38 member libraries, is also working to supply us with best practices and plans for a staged reopening of library service.

As of this writing, we don’t have a firm date for reopening. I invite you to follow this blog for the latest news, and to email me with your questions and comments. Mamaroneck has a great library, with a talented staff and a deeply-committed board of trustees who are working every day to navigate unprecedented circumstances. Until next time, be well and stay safe.