The Library District is doing what it takes to keep people safe by following a phased COVID-19 reopening plan. It is based on local, state and national data concerning the virus prevalence in our region. We are also following library-related research as to how long the virus can live in the air, on surfaces and on our library materials. This is why the branch managers are wiping down surfaces daily and quarantining items that come into our libraries. Once the quarantine period is concluded, items are sanitized with isopropyl alcohol or a bleach solution.
As scientists begin to understand more about the nature of COVID-19, it’s become obvious that it is easily spread and readily transmittable in closed spaces. They’ve found that cross ventilation is key to reducing the risk of infection. Our branches are each small enclosed spaces without adequate ventilation. As such, we are unable to clear the air after allowing people inside the libraries. We simply lack the doors, windows, and large fans to do the job. Once Sunsites gets an air purification system in place, we will have that added advantage over the other branches. Even so, phased reopening will include limited occupancy. Browsing will be available in the very last phase.
Mask and social distancing requirements are currently in place for all Cochise County libraries. The libraries in a more advanced stage of reopening are city libraries following their city guidelines. Other venues in towns like Willcox are also following city protocol. Cochise County branch library guidelines (for Sunsites, Elfrida, Portal, Bowie & Sunizona) are stricter because each is run by a single staff person and none are using volunteers at this time. This means that branch managers are juggling everything – all of the book requests, fax & copy duties, cleaning tasks, shelving, phone calls, etc. etc. Our policies are meant to keep everyone safe in addition to making the workload manageable for us.
The library is still a ways out from reopening. It will be next year before even small gatherings can take place inside the library or meeting room. We appreciate your patience and understanding.
If you’d like to keep track of the current status of the District libraries, visit the Library COVID-19 Status page. The page is updated weekly.