COVID-19: Phase Three Reopening FAQs

On November 9th, we will expand our in-person services while continuing to offer our enhanced virtual offerings. Homebound Services will continue until further notice. Holds will now be available via external Cart Side pick-up.

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.
          • Use of Express computers, with printing available, for one 20-minute session per day.
          • ILL services (in-state accessible materials only)
          • Access to the Children's Library available by appointment.
          • The Library will continue to offer virtual programs and access to digital materials.

What are the hours for this Phase of Services?
To allow extra time for disinfection and cleaning of communal spaces each day, the Library will continue to operate with reduced hours.
External Cart Pick Up Service and In-Library Hours:
          • Monday through Friday: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
          • Saturday: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
          • No Sunday

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.
          • 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.
          • Applying one-way routes through the building and adding traffic markers.
          • Requiring all staff and 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.
          • Requiring patrons to wipe down computer keyboards and self-check stations after use.
          • Providing hand-sanitizing stations and encouraging frequent hand washing.
          • Strongly discouraging people from bringing food and drink into the Library. 

Please help us keep our staff and the community safe by:
          • Wearing masks that cover nose and mouth. (Mandatory in the building)
          • Staying home if you’re experiencing symptoms of any illness.
          • Staying home if you or any family member has been told to quarantine.
          • 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 requires all patrons to wear masks that always cover nose and mouth the entire time they are in the Library.

What if I don't feel comfortable coming into the Library?
The Westport Library will offer external pickup of materials via a cart and Homebound Delivery of Library materials until further notice. To learn more about these services:
Cart Side 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. 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 users 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?
Due to Health and Safety considerations, Library of Things and Children's Toys and Children's Kits will not be available for circulation. 

Will Museum Passes be available during this phase?
Given that many museums are still closed or operating with extensive restrictions, the Library will not be circulating museum passes.

Will I be able to read magazines and newspapers in the Library?
Since newspapers are high-touch items, for safety reasons, they will not be available in this phase. Magazines will not be available for in-Library reading and 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?
Use of the MakerSpace will be available during this phase by reservation only.

Use of the MakerSpace will be limited to training on and use of the 3D printers by appointment only at this time. Online and Zoom support for projects will also be available.

HOURS: M-F 2:00-6:00 pm, Sat: noon-4:00 pm.

To ensure social distancing and the safety of staff and patrons, only one person (plus a caregiver for children under 12) will be allowed in the MakerSpace at a time.

The following health and safety protocols are being implemented:
The duration of appointments have been reduced to ensure sufficient time for enhanced cleaning; patrons are required to use hand sanitizer prior to entering the space; plexiglass shields are being used to help prevent the spread of germs; bringing food and drink into the MakerSpace is strongly discouraged; equipment will be sanitized between uses. Finished 3D prints are not touched (without gloves) as they are removed from the printer and packaged for patron pickup.

Will I be able to utilize the Media Studios?
Use of the Media Studios during this phase will be by reservation only and with adherence to strict Health and Safety protocols. To make a reservation for Podcast Training or for use of the Podcast Studio or for any media-related questions, please email mediastudios@westportlibrary.org or call Travis Bell at 203.291.4818. 

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?
The café is not open, but the store is available by appointment. Appointments can be virtual, or one-on-one in person. They are available Monday through Friday during Library hours. Each appointment is 25 minutes long and can be scheduled here. Walk-ins are welcome, when Store staff is available. Please inquire at the Patron Services desk.

Returns

Where do I return materials?
We will continue to use the white trailer structure for Books, CDs and DVD 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.

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?
Computer access will be limited to three Express stations with printing capability. Sessions on “Express” computers are 20 minutes per day. The computers are placed apart to support social distancing and wipes are available at 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.

Are copying, scanning, and faxing services available?
These are all high-touch resources and so to ensure the health and safety of our patrons, we are not offering these services.

Will the Library continue to provide Tech Help and Support during this time?
If you need help downloading with accessing our digital collection, check out our video tutorials here. For any other tech questions, you can 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?
Book donations will be accepted Thursdays only, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm (or, if earlier, when capacity is reached) depending on the weather. The Donation Center will be closed in the event of rain, snow or inclement weather.

Check the Book Sale website, or call the Book Sale (203) 952-0070, after 8:00 am on Thursday to determine whether we will be accepting donations that day. 

If the Book Donation Center is full, we may have to temporarily suspend accepting donations for the day. Please check the Book Sale 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 Book Sale website.

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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