COVID-19: Phase Two Reopening FAQs

On July 13, we will resume offering limited in-person services in addition to our enhanced virtual offerings. Curbside Pickup and Homebound Services will also continue until further notice.

We do not have a date when full services and programs will resume. The safety and health of our patrons and staff is our priority and we will continue to abide by federal, state, and local regulations and guidance. Thank you for following guidelines and for your patience and flexibility as we move through this time together.

Using the Library

What should I expect when I visit the Library?
We are happy to welcome you back to the Library. At this time, we are offering limited services to reduce contact and close interactions to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

In-person services available during this phase:
          • Borrowing of books, audiobooks, movies, CDs, and magazines from the collection.
          • Access to Express computers for 20-minute sessions per day.
          • In-person reference and reader’s advisory services.
          • Family access to the Children's Library by appointment.
          • The Library will continue to offer virtual programs, access to digital materials, and reference and reader’s advisory                            services by phone or email.

What are the hours for Phase Two of the Library’s reopening plan?
To allow extra time for disinfection and cleaning of communal spaces each day, the Library will operate with reduced hours.
Curbside Service:
          • Monday through Friday: 10am to 1pm
          • No Saturday or Sunday
In-Library Service:
          • Monday through Friday: 2pm to 6pm
          • Saturday: 12pm to 4pm
          • No Sunday
Phone Service:
          • Monday through Friday: 10am to 6pm
          • Saturday: 12pm to 4pm
          • No Sunday
Virtual Services:
          • Chat with a Librarian: Monday through Friday 11am to 5pm
          • The Digital collection is open 24/7

What measures is the Library taking to keep patrons safe?
The Library is taking numerous precautions to allow for the health and safety of staff and patrons:
          • Limiting the number of patrons in the Library at any given time.
          • Staffing entry and exit points to monitor the number of people entering and leaving the building.
          • Implementing 6 feet social distancing protocols.
          • Reducing Library hours to ensure sufficient time for enhanced cleaning.
          • Implementing a separate entrance and exit from the Library to allow for one-way foot traffic.
          • Removing seating and asking patrons not to congregate.
          • Reducing the number of computers available for use.
          • Applying one-way routes through the building and adding traffic markers.
          • Requiring staff to wear masks.
          • Requiring all patrons to wear masks that cover nose and mouth.
          • Using plexiglass shields at selected service points.
          • Quarantining returned Library materials for 72 hours.
          • Increasing frequency of cleaning of the building and service points.
          • Providing hand-sanitizing stations and encouraging frequent hand washing.
          • Bringing food and drink into the Library is strongly discouraged.

Please help us keep our staff and the community safe by:
          • Requiring all patrons to wear masks that cover nose and mouth. (Mandatory to enter the building)
          • Staying home if you’re experiencing symptoms of any illness.
          • Washing or sanitizing your hands frequently.
          • Maintaining a distance of at least six feet from staff and other patrons.
          • Keeping your visit to the Library short to allow other patrons to enjoy use of the Library.
          • Following the instructions of Library staff.

Is there a limit on the number of patrons allowed in the Library?
To support social distancing and adequately manage the flow of people around the spaces and around materials, we are limiting the number of people in the Library to 100. 

You may be asked to wait in line until we have space for additional patrons. While in line, please follow social distancing guidelines and keep six feet between you and other patrons. A staff member will let you know when you may enter the Library.

Per Governor Lamont’s travel advisory, can I visit the Library if I or a member of my family travel to one of the states with high rates of Corona infections?

To learn more about the state’s latest travel advisories, please visit https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus/Covid-19-Knowledge-Base/Travel-In-or-Out-of-CT for more information.

Do I need to wear a mask while I’m at the Library?
Yes, the Library will require all patrons to wear masks that always cover nose and mouth.

What if I don't feel comfortable coming into the Library?
The Westport Library will continue to offer Curbside Pickup and Homebound Delivery of Library materials until further notice. To learn more about these services:
Curbside Service
Homebound Delivery

We will continue to offer eBooks and audiobooks, online resources and more via our website. Please reach out to us by phone or email if you have questions.

Will the Children’s Library be available?
YES, starting on August 17th appointments are recommended to visit the Children’s Library. A family or cohort of up to five people will have the Children’s Library to themselves for thirty minutes. If they leave before the thirty minutes are over, walk-ins can book the remaining time. Children 12 or over can continue to access the Children’s Library without an adult present. Book your appointment now. 

Will I still be able to come into the Library and pick up my holds like I used to?
Yes, holds will be available in the Library for pick up during Library hours. 

Will the Library be issuing fines for overdue materials?
Overdue fines will be waived during this period.

Will toys and materials in Library of Things be circulated in this phase?
We are taking great care to quarantine materials and we do not feel like we can adequately clean and disinfect toys and items in the Library of Things; therefore they will not be available for circulation. 

Will Museum Passes be available during this phase?
Since most museums are closed at this time, we will not be circulating Museum Passes. 

Will I be able to read magazines and newspapers in the Library?
Newspapers will not be available. Magazines will not be available for in-Library reading but patrons may check them out, including the latest issue.

How long will this phase last?
At this stage we have not determined when we will move to the next phase of reopening. The health and safety of our staff and patrons will remain our top priority and so we will move to the next stage of reopening or revert to a prior phase based on the guidance of the Governor and on local health indicators.

Building & Facilities
Can I book a meeting room, study room, or hang out in the Library’s communal spaces?
Our meeting and study rooms and communal spaces are not available until further notice.

Will I be able to utilize the MakerSpace and Media Studios?
The Media Studios and the Maker Space will not be accessible during this phase.

Will the restrooms be open?
Yes, but only one person or one household will be allowed in a restroom at any given time.

Will the café and store be open?
No, we are following the guidance of the Governor who has requested that in this phase libraries restrict themselves to essential services.

Returns

Where do I return materials?
We will be using the white trailer structure for material returns. The trailer is located adjacent to the Library in the Upper Level parking lot. A book return slot has been created to make it convenient for patrons to return their Library materials. Patrons will not be allowed to enter the trailer.

Why can't I return my materials in the Library's other book drops?
The health and safety of our patrons and staff members is our highest priority. The Library wishes to avoid bringing potentially contaminated materials into the Library building. The trailer enables the Library to place potentially contaminated materials in a holding cell before they are brought into the Library for thorough decontamination. Please refer to the Library’s procedures for quarantining materials here.

What if I can't return my materials for a couple of weeks?
We encourage patrons to return their materials so that other patrons can enjoy them. If for any reason you cannot return your materials, please call patron services to go through the renewal process.

What if I have toys, kits, or larger items that cannot fit into the book return slot?
Call the Library at 203.291.4807 or send an email to circulation@westportlibrary.org and staff will arrange for you to drop off your item(s) into a cart/bin outside the Library.

How are you disinfecting Library materials?
According to the most up-to-date guidance, time is the most effective disinfectant. All available resources suggest 72 hours is the appropriate duration to quarantine books and other materials. All returned items will be quarantined for 72 hours. In the interest of being extra cautious, the Library will also use UVC lighting in the disinfecting process. 

The Library will hold returned materials in the white trailer outside the building to prevent the virus from being brought directly into the Library. Materials will be moved to the Komansky room in batches where they will be quarantined for 3 days. After the 3 days, materials will be checked in and removed from the patron's account.

All new materials the Library receives from vendors will be quarantined for 72 hours from the date they were packed into the boxes.

Materials will remain on the patron's account for a minimum of 72 hours, since items will be checked in only once the quarantine procedure is complete. For more information, please refer to the Library’s guidelines for quarantining materials here.

Holds
Will holds take longer during this time?
As we are quarantining returned materials before checking items in, there will be delays in delivering holds materials to the next patron.

May I have someone else pick up my holds for me?
Yes. If a family member or friend is available to pick up your holds, they can do so. You can give them your Library card to check out your materials.

Checking Out Materials
Will the Library continue to offer self-checkout of Library materials?
We ask that you use self-checkout stations to help us minimize close interactions during this time. To use the self-checkout, you’ll need to scan your Library card or key in your Library card number.

Please use hand sanitizer before and after using the self-checkout. Hand sanitizer will be provided.

As always, please ask for help if you need it.

Computers & Printing
Can I use the Library’s computers during Phase Two?
Yes, but computer access will be limited to two Express stations – with space between seats. Sessions on “Express” computers are 20 minutes per day. Wipes will be available near the computers and we are encouraging patrons to wipe down computers before and after use.

Will the “Laptops Anytime” computers be available for use?
No, the reason is twofold. These are both high-touch resources and so to ensure the health and safety of our patrons we are not offering this service. Secondly, since we are limiting the number of patrons in the building and to ensure everybody has an opportunity to gain access without waiting in line, we are not offering services that will encourage people to linger in this phase.

Can we print, scan and make copies in the Library?
Since the scanner, copier and printer are high-touch technologies, for the safety of our patrons, we will not be offering these services at this time.

Will the Library continue to provide Tech Help and Support during this time?
As a health precaution for our staff, we will not be touching patrons’ personal devices. If you need help downloading with accessing our digital collection, check out our video tutorials here: https://westportlibrary.libguides.com/DigitalCollection. For any other tech questions, please email us at support@westportlibrary.org.

Programs & Events
Does the Library offer virtual or online events?
Yes, in accordance with the Governor’s recommendations, all in-person programs will continue to be offered virtually. Please see our events calendar to learn more about our offerings.

Book Sale
When can I donate books?
Beginning Thursday, July 16, 2020, book donations will be accepted Thursdays only, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm (or, if earlier, when capacity is reached).

If the Book Donation Center is full, we may have to temporarily suspend accepting donations for the day. Please check the Westport Book Sale Ventures website before delivering items to make sure there is space to accommodate your donations.

Until further notice, book donations are not accepted Friday through Wednesday, or any time the Library is closed.

Where do I bring my book donations?
For the duration of the pandemic, book donations are “contact-less” — book donors should bring their materials directly to the grey brick shed immediately next to the Book Donation Center in the Library’s Upper Parking Lot.

For further information, please visit the Westport Book Sale's website at www.westportbooksaleventures.org.

Support the Library
How can I support the library during this time?
Thank you for considering a gift to the Westport Library. 

The Westport Library Association is a registered 501(c)3 organization. Contributions are fully deductible under federal tax regulations. The Westport Library accepts online donations using major credit cards. Your online transactions are safe and secure. The Library does not share donor information. The Westport Library is eligible for corporate matching grants.

For questions or additional information, please click here.

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Nationally Ranked
5-Star Library
20 Jesup Road
Westport, CT 06880
203.291.4800

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