COVID-19 FAQs and Safety & Security Guidelines

How do I renew or get a Westport Library card if the Library is closed?

Westport residents can apply online for a Westport Library card. The online application can be found here. Once we receive your completed application, we will e-mail you your barcode/username and password for your account.

You may pick up your physical card at the Patron Services desk once we return to offering in-library services - please note that you will be asked to provide proof of residence (driver’s license, lease, etc.).

To renew your Library account or for additional account-related questions, please contact us at [email protected] or call 203.291.4807

If you are a non-Westport resident, you will need to have a current Library card in good standing with your home Library in order to renew your Westport Library account.

I am having difficulty with accessing my account, what should I do?

Please contact us at [email protected] or call 203.291.4807.

Where can I return my Library books?

Library books may be returned in the Annex in the Upper Level parking lot.

Can I request items online?

If patrons would like to place a hold on an item that we own, they can log in to their accounts online or call the Library at 203.291.4807. Items may be picked up following our curbside procedures.


Do I need to be a Westport Library card holder to access your digital collection?

Yes. If you are a resident and you do not have a library card, you can get one here!

What do I need to access the Library’s digital services?

You will need your username and password and an Internet connection. Your username is the barcode on your Westport Library card and your password is the last 4 digits of the phone number we have on record. If you have difficulties accessing your account, please contact us at [email protected] and we will be happy to assist you.

Are lending limits increased for any of the digital collections while the library is closed?

Yes! Some of our limits have been increased. See the list below:

Hoopla: Patrons can now download 8 Hoopla (increased from 6) titles per month and can stream 24 hours of music with Freegal (increased from 3 hrs). Hoopla has also created free access to a large amount of content that does not count towards 8 checkouts.

Freegal: 24-hour streaming services for all Westport card holders is available temporarily until September 30th. Thereafter it will revert back to 3 hours streaming per day.

Cloud library (CL): We have added many new titles to the collection to meet demand. CL items can be loaned for 3 weeks and then they will automatically disappear from your device. You can place a hold on titles you would like to borrow if they are checked out. CL has an option to search by available items only to find something that you could check out now.

Flipster: This is our online collection of popular magazines. We have about 50 titles which covers news, fashion, health, design, crafts and other interesting topics. There are no limits on the number of magazines you can read via the website or through the app. You can also access back issues on some of the titles.

Do any databases which were only available for use in the building, have increased access during this interim closure?

Yes. Many of our databases have always been available from home, but for those that were not, we are working with our vendors to provide home access where possible. Currently, we have expanded home access to our Foundation Center Database, and our Historical Newspaper Collection. JStor has allowed access to a limited amount of their content from home.

We are also creating video tutorials on how to use our databases:

If you have any further questions about accessing our databases, please contact Reference at [email protected] or call 203.291.4840.


Patrons can place a request for interlibrary loan materials but none of the requests will be satisfied until the State begins supporting this service again. If you have items borrowed from interlibrary loan, please return them to the book return location in the Upper Level parking lot. If you have any questions, please contact Carolyn Karwoski, [email protected].


Are you still accepting book donations during the closure?

To protect our volunteers and patrons no donations can be accepted at this time. For more about the book sale and donations, click here.


Can I make room reservations for future dates?

Room reservations can only be made when we reintroduce this service.


When will the Library re-open?

The Library will implement a phased reopening plan. Notice of our re-opening dates and services will be widely publicized through our regular communication channels which include our website, newsletters, and social media platforms once the date is determined.
In the meantime, you may reach us for email support in the following ways:
For tech support, please e-mail [email protected].
For reference questions, please e-mail [email protected] or call 203.291.4840.
For the children’s department, please e-mail [email protected] or call 203.291.4810.
For account assistance, please e-mail [email protected] or call 203.291.4807.



With the help and support of the Westport Town Safety and Infection Control Office (SICO) and the input of the library’s Health and Safety committee we have prepared this document to provide employees with guidance on how to best combat the spread of COVID-19 at home and in the workplace. The content that has been provided by SICO, is based on traditional and evidence-based infection prevention and hygiene strategies. It is for planning purposes. In addition, our plan also incorporates many of Governor Lamont’s sector guidelines during Phase 1 of the state’s reopening plan. 

The Library will use this guide to assist in outlining the strategies the Library and the staff will implement to respond to risk factors in the workplace. As we all know available information keeps evolving and we will update plans as new information becomes available.

Creating a Pandemic Response Team

To ensure that employees receive clear communications and that the Library is on the same page when it comes to our return to work action plan, we have created a pandemic response team. The pandemic response team is a cross-functional team that recommends and oversees workplace protocols to control the spread of COVID-19. 

Team lead: Melanie Myers is responsible for working with Library stakeholders and relevant health and safety bodies to manage this action plan. 

COVID-19 prevention and protocols lead: Robin Powell is responsible for overseeing procedures for isolating employees should they become sick at work.

Sanitation and disinfection lead: Glenn Bardenilli manages logistics related to daily and periodic sanitation and disinfection efforts. His responsibilities include ensuring that routine cleanings are completed and that the necessary cleaning supplies are readily available. 

Communication lead: Nancy Klein is tasked with managing all pandemic-related communications. 

Managers and supervisors: Leadership, including managers and supervisors, will be responsible for familiarize themselves with the details of these guidelines. Above all, leadership must be prepared to answer questions from employees and set a good example by adhering to the guidance prescribed herein. This involves practicing social distancing and good personal hygiene.

Employees: Staff play a critical role in ’s COVID-19 prevention efforts. To protect everyone in the Library, there are several best practices that employees should follow:

          • Understand the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, and stay home if you are feeling sick:
          Any employee who is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g., fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore              throat, runny nose, body aches, chills or fatigue) should stay home. Individuals experiencing such                        symptoms should also be instructed to consult guidance from the CDC on seeking medical care.

          • Practice good hygiene:
          Employees should clean their hands often, either with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer or soap and                      water. Hand sanitizers should contain at least 60%-95% alcohol, and employees should wash their                        hands with soap for at least 20 seconds. In addition, employees should avoid touching their face and                  cough into their arm.

          • Follow social distancing:
          Staff will be asked to follow social distancing best practices. Specifically, encourage staff to:
                    o Stay 6 feet away from others when working or on breaks.
                    o Avoid job tasks that require face-to-face work with others when possible. If this is unavoidable,                          employees will be provided with face masks, face shields, physical barriers, and other workplace                          controls to ensure their safety.
                    o Avoid contact with others whenever possible (e.g., handshakes).
                    o Avoid touching surfaces that may have been touched by others when possible.
                    o Distance themselves from anyone who appears to be sick.
                    o Avoid gathering when entering and exiting the facility. Employees should also only enter and exit                      designated areas.
                    o Follow any posted signage regarding COVID-19 social distancing practices.
                    o Disinfect their workspace often.

Preparing for Reopening

This section provides an overview of how the Library will prepare for reopening.

Modifying the workplace
To prevent the spread of COVID-19 after reopening the Library, we may need to make office modifications. These workplace modifications will most often be based on social distancing protocols, which may also be required by the state or local orders as a condition of being permitted to reopen.

Physical workspace modifications
Because COVID-19 spreads through close contact, the Library may need to make changes to employees’ desks or workstations. Some suggested changes include the following:
          • Separating desks and workstations to ensure that there are 6 feet between each station
          • Adding partitions to open floor plans
          • Closing common spaces, including conference rooms, break room, and the cafe
          • Modifying high-touch surfaces (e.g., propping doors open) to avoid employees unnecessarily touching              surfaces
          • Posting signage around the office to remind employees of social distancing protocols
          • Depending on each phase, the Library will limit visitors and service providers on-site; shipping and                    deliveries must be completed in designated areas.

Workplace protocols
To keep employees safe, the Library will need to change protocols for in-person interactions and physical contact. Some suggested changes include the following:
          • Establishing and enforcing a crowd control plan to ensure that as few employees are in the building at              once
          • Prohibiting in-person meetings whenever possible and encourage the use of Zoom meetings instead
          • Limiting the size of in-person gatherings and meetings to less than 10 people
          • Encouraging employees to avoid sharing workstations or equipment
          • Staggering mealtimes and breaks to avoid having large groups of employees together at once in our                kitchen and cafe
          • Banning all professional travel until further notice

Employee scheduling
To minimize the number of employees at the Library at any given time, changes to employee scheduling may need to be made and enforced. Some suggested changes include the following:
          • Permitting only essential employees in the office
          • Encouraging all other employees to work remotely, if possible
          • Staggering shifts
          • The Library will maintain a log of employees on premise over time, to support contact tracing.

Disinfecting and Cleaning Offices and Building

Regular cleaning is one of the most effective strategies for preventing the spread of COVID-19. The Library will implement a thorough cleaning regime, utilizing our external cleaning company. Staff will also be responsible for wiping down their own individual workspaces frequently. Where sharing of electronics or other materials is necessary for completing tasks, staff will cover items with plastic wrap for their own use or where that is not possible, they will wipe it down with an alcohol wipe or cleaning liquid before and after use. Some Library spaces, such as the café, and a few conference rooms will be closed to avoid unnecessarily continuous cleaning. 

Disinfectant works best on already clean surfaces. As such, the Library will complete a thorough cleaning of facility prior to reopening, including, but not limited to:
          • Entrances
          • Lobbies
          • Bathrooms
          • Cafe
          • Kitchen
          • Hallways
          • Elevators
          • Door handles/door knobs
          • Shared equipment (e.g., printers, scanners, phones)
          • Desks, chairs, computers, monitors
          • High-touch common surfaces (e.g., light switches and plate covers, doors, cabinets, sinks, stair railings,            countertops, beverage machines, refrigerators, and elevator buttons, if applicable)
          • Protocols on how to clean and use cleaning products (including disinfectants) safely. Additional                          guidance can be found here:

Workspace Hygiene
Staff will be encouraged to use good hygiene to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This will include some of the following:
          • Frequent Hand Washing
          Washing hands regularly or using hand sanitizer when soap and water are not readily available is the 
          one of the most effective strategies for preventing the spread of any germs.
          • Hand Sanitizer
          Hand sanitizer shall be made available at entrance points and common areas, where possible
          • Cleaning and Disinfectant Products
          The Library will make available near commonly used surfaces
          • Use of PPE
          Staff will need to use PPE while at the Library. Best practices will include:
                    o Gloves
                    Employees may contract COVID-19 by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching their                            face. Gloves are an effective way to prevent COVID-19 from getting on an employee’s skin. They are                      also a good reminder for employees not to touch their face.
                    o Face shields, face masks and eye protection
                    Viruses can be transmitted through the eyes and mouth via tiny viral particles known as aerosols.                        Face shields, face masks and eye protection can help protect employees from these particles.
                    o NOTE
                    In workplace settings where employees are working alone in segregated spaces (e.g., cubicles with                      walls, private offices, etc.), employees may remove their masks. However, workers shall wear a                              mask or face covering from the time they enter the building until the time they arrive at their                                cubicle/workstation, and at any time they are leaving their work station and moving around                                  common areas (e.g., in hallways and stairwells, going to the restroom, care or break room, etc.)
          • Respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene
          This can involve:
                    o Providing tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles
                    o Providing soap and water in the workplace
                    o Placing hand sanitizers in multiple locations to encourage hand hygiene
                    o Reminding employees to not touch their eyes, nose, or mouth

Safe Distancing
          • The Library will be implementing the following strategies to support safe distancing:
                    o To minimize contact between Departments:
                               Departments will be assigned specific entrance and exit doors
                               Departments will be assigned specific restrooms
                    o The Library will be divided into work zones and only a limited number of employees will be                                assigned to each zone within a shift
                               Directional signs will be placed on the floor, to limit staff crossing paths
                               Only one employee will be allowed to use the elevator at a time
                    o Signage will be placed around the Library reminding staff about hygiene and safe distancing                              practices

          • HVAC – Integrated into our new HVAC system is bipolar ionization technology. It is experiencing a surge            in popularity as the coronavirus pandemic fans concerns about air quality. Bipolar ionization has been                used in healthcare for many years for many applications. Tony Abate, chief technical officer at AtmosAir              Solutions, told Business Insider. "We believe bipolar ion systems will become a standard in these critical              environments to protect patients and staff. The technology utilizes specialized tubes that take oxygen                molecules from the air and convert them into charged atoms that then cluster around microparticles,                surrounding and deactivating harmful substances like airborne mold, bacteria, allergens, and viruses.                  They also attach to expelled breath droplets and dust particles that can transport viruses, enlarging                    them so they're more easily caught in filters. It's an active process that provides continuous disinfection.            The ions produce a chemical reaction on the cell membrane surface that inactivates the virus. It can                    reduce 99.9% of microbes in a matter of minutes.

Health & Illness

Illness Practices: What to do if you or a family member has signs or symptoms indicating illness.
          • Cold, Influenza (Flu)
          Fever, coughing, and difficulty breathing are symptoms associated with these viruses. Staff members                  exhibiting any of these symptoms or other signs of illness should stay home or will be asked to return                home. Staff members should not return to work until all signs and symptoms are gone, including being              fever free for at least 24 hours while free from medication.
          • COVID-19
          If a staff member has signs or symptoms indicating COVID-19 (fever and/or symptoms of acute                            respiratory illness), the staff member will be asked to notify their supervisor and HR and seek medical                assistance. Staff members who have tested positive for COVID-19, may be asked to submit a doctor’s                  note indicating they are fit to return to duty prior to returning to the library.
          • Increased vulnerability to illness (may be Timebound)
          Based on CDC recommendations and other guidance, staff members over a certain age and/or with                    underlying health conditions may not be allowed to return to work in the library building
          • FMLA Leave Expansion and Emergency Paid Sick Leave due to COVID-19 (Timebound)
                    o Provide Guidelines (See FMLA documentation)
                    o Emergency FMLA Leave Request Form - Use if unable to work (or work remotely) due to a need                          to care for their son or daughter when the school or place of care has been closed, or their regular                      childcare provider is unavailable, due to a public health emergency with respect to COVID-19
                    o Emergency Paid Sick Leave Request Form - Use if unable to work (or work remotely) due to one                          of the six reasons (see FMLA documentation) related to COVID-19

Signs & Symptoms of Possible COVID-19 Infection
Any person with one or more (>/=1) of the following signs or symptoms should be considered to be possibly infected with COVID-19. Interaction should be limited and governed by the processes outlined in “Infection Control Guidelines.”
          1. Shortness of breath
          2. Cough
          3. Fever
          4. Sore Throat
          5. Headache
          6. Loss of sense of smell or taste
          7. Muscle Pain
          8. Chills

If an Employee is Sick
If staff exhibit any one or more (>/=1) of the following signs and symptoms, they are required to stay away from work and notify their supervisor:
          1. Temperature >/= 100.0F
          2. Sore throat
          3. New cough
          4. Sudden respiratory distress
If staff exhibit any two or more (>/=2) of the following signs and symptoms, they are required to stay away from work and notify their supervisor:
          1. Chills
          2. Repeated shaking with chills
          3. Muscle pain
          4. Headache
          5. Sore throat
          6. New loss of taste or smell
There is evidence that COVID-19 may cause signs and symptoms atypical of the known infection process, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or conjunctivitis. These signs and symptoms are NOT currently identified by the Centers for Disease Control, Connecticut Department of Public Health, or leading hospitals as warranting isolation. If staff have any questions about atypical signs or symptoms that may be related to COVID-19, they need to contact their health care advisor for guidance.

Self-evaluation & Symptom Reporting
Strategies for limiting the spread of COVID-19 rely primarily on self-evaluation and symptom reporting. All employees are required to check their temperatures (preferably with an oral or tympanic thermometer) and self-evaluate for the signs and/or symptoms listed above before reporting to work.
If a coworker or cohabitator exhibits any of the signs or symptoms listed in “Signs & Symptoms of Possible COVID-19 Infection;” OR who is known to be COVID-19 positive AND still reporting to the office; OR has sick cohabitators at home with signs and/or symptoms of COVID-19 infection, employees should notify their supervisor. 

Any employee feeling ill must notify their supervisor immediately. Employees must stay home if they do not feel well and if they are sick at work, they must go home immediately. Melanie Myers or Wafaa Naggar will follow up with the employee to determine whether your symptoms are consistent with COVID-19.

Home Care
Ensure that ALL members of the household adhere to the Center for Disease Control’s recommendations to limit the spread of COVID-19:
          1. Stay at home as much as possible, minimize time spent in public areas
          2. Self-isolate if symptomatic and self-isolate from symptomatic people in the home
          3. Wash hands with soap and water often – if soap is not available, use hand sanitizer Avoid touching                  eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
          4. Avoid close contact with people who are sick
          5. Limit contact with pets and animals
          6. Wear facemasks in shared areas within the home
          7. When coughing or sneezing, cover mouth with a tissue or the inside of the elbow.
          8. Avoid sharing personal items
          9. Clean shared areas and high-contact surfaces often
          10. Monitor self and family for symptoms
          11. Seek immediate medical attention if the sick individual develops emergency warning signs (such as                trouble breathing, chest pain, confusion, or bluish lips/face).

Home Isolation Strategies
All personnel are strongly encouraged to develop a plan with any cohabitators (e.g. family, roommates, etc.) for self-isolation if they or their cohabitator(s) become ill or are at high risk for COVID-19 infection. For planning purposes, anticipate ten-to-fourteen (10-14) days of isolation. Strategies may include:
          1. Self-isolating in an alternate location by either the symptomatic individual(s) OR asymptomatic                          cohabitator(s) (e.g. hotels, short-term leases, Airbnb, etc.)
          2. Self-isolating within the residence by:
                    a. Designating a separate living area that includes a bedroom and bathroom for the person on                              isolation precautions
                    b. Maintaining a distance of six feet or greater (>/=6’) whenever possible
                    c. Wearing facemasks (prioritize use for those who are symptomatic and those taking care of                                symptomatic individuals)
                    d. Clean shared, frequently touched surfaces twice daily
          3. Observing rigorous hygiene standards
                    a. Clean clothes on sanitation or hot water cycles
                    b. Wash hands frequently
                    c. Shower regularly
                    d. Avoid touching potentially contaminated surfaces
          4. Considering childcare alternatives (e.g., sending children to homes of non-essential relatives)

Returning to Work for Symptomatic Personnel
Those who have had the signs and/or symptoms characteristic of COVID-19, regardless of pending or confirmed COVID-19 test results, will be eligible to discontinue home isolation when:
          1. You are fever free without medicine for seventy-two (72) hours; AND
          2. Your other symptoms have resolved (i.e., cough, shortness of breath); AND
          3. Ten (10) days have passed since symptoms first appeared; AND/OR
          4. You have two (2) negative COVID-19 test results more than twenty-four (>24) hours apart. 

Asymptomatic Personnel
In the uncommon event that you have tested positive for COVID-19 AND have NOT had any signs and/or symptoms of infection, you may discontinue home isolation when:
          1. You have completed fourteen (14) days of home isolation, OR
          2. You have two (2) negative COVID-19 test results more than twenty-four (>24) hours apart.
          COVID-19 testing should be strategically scheduled so that results will be available by the end of the                    fourteen (14) day isolation period. If you develop signs or symptoms of infection at any time, reference              the Returning to Work guidelines for Symptomatic Personnel. 

Personnel Caring for or in Close Proximity to a Sick Cohabitator
          1. Employees who are directly caring for a sick cohabitator with symptoms consistent with COVID-19                    without recommended personal protective equipment OR have a cohabitator who has received a                        positive test result and is NOT self-isolating may discontinue home isolation when:
                    a. 14 days have passed since the sick individual is fever-free and his/her respiratory symptoms                              have improved; OR
                    b. The sick individual has tested negative for COVID-19, OR
                    c. The sick individual no longer has a temperature, his/her other signs have been improving for 3                          days, and you have tested negative for COVID-19; AND
                    d. You have NOT exhibited any signs or symptoms of infection, OR
                    e. You meet the Returning to Work Guidelines for Symptomatic Personnel.
          2. Employees who have been in limited, passing contact with a sick cohabitator with signs of COVID-19                infection or a positive test result; OR have a cohabitator that is effectively self-isolating; OR are directly                caring for a sick cohabitator with recommended personal protective equipment may continue to work                with active temperature monitoring and NO restrictions. 
Employee shall inform their supervisor when they meet the criteria to return to work. 

Infection Control Guidelines
COVID-19 is less transmissible if the individual is not coughing or sneezing; however, there is data that suggests COVID-19 is spread by individuals who are not experiencing symptoms. For all our safety, it is imperative that the following infection control guidelines be observed in the workplace. 

Contact with Individuals with Suspected or Positive COVID-19 Infection
If an employee has contact with a person who may have COVID-19:
          1. Maintain a minimum distance of 6 feet.
          2. Avoid close contact with the individual.
                    a. Risk of infection is significantly reduced if both parties are wearing facemasks.
          3. Wash hands with soap and water and flush eyes/nose/mouth with water if coughed upon.
          4. Change into clean, uncontaminated clothes or a spare uniform.
          5. Notify immediate supervisor.
          6. Monitor temperatures daily and notify supervisor per the section on “Calling Out Sick.”
          7. If in sustained close contact and/or repeated contact with someone who is a confirmed or suspected              case of COVID-19, notify supervisor.

Employee Mental Health Considerations
The Library understands that the COVID-19 pandemic has increased stress levels of employees. We want to prioritize our employees’ mental health during these uncertain times. As such, we have made every effort to ensure that the workplace is safe for employees to return to work and are ready to discuss personal situations. Managers and supervisors are aware of mental health considerations during this transition. Employees with concerns regarding their mental health should request additional resources from their manager or supervisor.
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