As summer kicks off and the state slowly starts to reopen, businesses are adapting to the coronavirus public health order and figuring out how to move forward.
Libraries across New Mexico have been closed since March.
Every year the libraries create a summer reading program for children in the state. This year, most of the libraries in the area are still moving forward with the program, as they have already purchased supplies and created schedules.
The public health order classifies libraries as a “non-essential retail business.” According to “Phase 1” of the governor’s plan to slowly reopen the state, retail businesses are required to limit operations to remote work to the greatest extent possible; arrange workplace to provide for 6 feet of distance in between individuals; close common areas where personnel are likely to congregate or modify them to minimize contact; provide for all meetings to take place remotely whenever possible; ensure all employees have face coverings or makes and wear them in the workplace at all times; train all employees on daily cleaning and disinfecting protocol, hygiene and respiratory etiquette; make sanitizer and other hygiene support available to employees; screen employees before they enter the workplace each day for symptoms of COVID-19; prohibit employees with known close contact to a person who is positive to return to work until authorized by the Department of Health; and minimize travel.
They also have to adhere to the state’s occupancy requirements of operating at no more than 25% capacity.
Estancia Public Library has reopened. They are operating at 25%, wearing masks and creating physical distancing boundaries inside, as well as using a sign-up sheet to track how many patrons are in the building at once and leaving the choice of whether to wear a mask or not to the patrons.
They are offering curbside service and participating in the summer reading program this year.
The free summer reading program is tailored to kids from grades 1 to 5.
Families can register through June 5, over the phone at 505-384-9655 or by email email@example.com. Because of the restrictions of the public health order, the library has made two adaptations to the program. First, kids can read any book they want, so long as they track it on their reading log and turn in full logs to the library to earn gold coins.
The library has created a Reading Rewards Store where kids can spend the coins they earn. Craft time and story time are currently canceled but any child can request a craft kit and take it home to enjoy instead. Families can return reading logs in person or email them in.
While the library was closed to the public, they took the opportunity to purge the collection. They are holding a book sale at the library Monday through Friday this week and next week during regular business hours. Contact the library at 505-384-9655 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
The Edgewood Library will remain closed to the public this summer, because of the restrictions of the public health order and because the staff is on a skeleton crew, said Librarian Andrea Corvin.
Most of its volunteers are elderly and considered “the high risk category.”
They will be offering the summer reading program in a different format. If someone doesn’t have access to reading materials or digital resources at home, the library will be offering curbside services and virtual events until further notice.
Patrons can also call the library and get help finding a book. The librarian has requested that anyone who cannot look at the digital catalog and wants to get help over the phone meet include the author, title, name, and genre.
Corvin also has the ability to look at a year’s worth of check-out history, which might help some people find the books they are looking for.
For the summer reading program, for each 15 minutes a child reads or is read to, a sticker is added to a reading tracker (enclosed in packet). For every reading tracker a child completes he or she will earn a prize from the library.
Every Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to noon, from June 4 to July 30, a librarian will be waiting curbside to collect completed reading trackers, give out blank ones and hand out prizes.
Patrons can get another tracker and stickers to log more hours for more prizes until the end of the program. On the back of the reading tracker is the option to enter your child’s name into a grand prize drawing to be held Aug. 1. The library will contact the winner.
The Edgewood Library will not be accepting returns during curbside service hours—patrons are still required to use the drop box. Books will be quarantined and disinfected in the sun for one week before being checked back in.
Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, a librarian will be outside from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and again at 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., to help with any regular library functions. Summer Reading Program curbside services will only be available once a week on Thursdays.
The Mountainair Library is currently closed and does not have a date set for reopening. “This will be the fourth year in a row that we are not participating in the Summer Reading Program because we just don’t have the participation. We don’t have enough kids coming in here for us to be able to do it,” said librarian Evelyn Walker.
She said the library recently purchased two Free Little Libraries and they will be installed in Mountainair. The books are free, with the premise of take a book and leave a book. It also a controlled environment and a good option for anyone nervous about being in a room full of people at a traditional library.
The Moriarty Public Library is still closed to the public and they do not have a plan in motion for the Summer Reading Program yet. The Independent will be following up with them when they reopen and have a plan.
The East Mountain Library will be opening its doors on June 2, and they are following the state restrictions closely. The Independent will follow up with them when they return to being open.