by Holly Paxson, Library Manager
A lot has been happening at the library over the past month. Special thanks to John G. for reminding me that I needed to get this update written ?.
We started Library Takeout at Lacey at the end of July, and it has proven very popular! Our patrons are really happy to be able to pick up their holds and visit (briefly and safely) with us, and we’ve been overjoyed to see them. Right now, when patrons receive notice that their holds are ready to pick up, they come to the library and either call us from their car or stand in the walk-up service line to let us know they’re here. We assign them a number (#1 or #2 for walk ups, #3 or #4 for phone calls) and then patrons wait at the socially-distanced numbered waiting area until we call their number to come up to the table and pick up their items, already checked out and ready to go. We have a #5 waiting space for folks who want to pick up print jobs that they’ve submitted wirelessly, custom or ready-made grab bags of themed books or movies we think they’ll like (if f you’d like to request a custom grab bag, you can do so here: https://www.trl.org/grab-bag). We also help adults & kids who have completed the Summer Library Program and want to pick up their free book prize! For folks who have other questions, we take their phone number and have a staff person call them back to help them out. This keeps our incoming phone lines available for Takeout service. We usually help between 150 and 200 patrons during each Takeout session (Tuesdays through Saturdays from 1 to 5 p.m.)
As of yesterday, we also increased our drive-up bookdrop open hours. We are now opening our bookdrop up as soon as a staff person gets to the building on Monday (usually between 8 and 9 am.) and keeping it open 24 hours until Saturday at 5 p.m. We close the bookdrop on Sundays and holidays. Pre-Covid, we use to have to have staff come in on a holiday to empty the bookdrop so it didn’t overflow, but that’s not a great use of staff time. Since we now no longer have late fees, we prefer people to just keep their books and return them when the bookdrop is open. Also, we do quarantine materials for 4 days after they’ve been returned before we check them in, so don’t worry if the items you dropped off are still showing up on your account. They’ll be cleared off as soon as it’s safe for staff to handle them.
Lacey Library staff are also helping with coverage for the District-wide ASKLIB (Ask a Librarian) email question service. Have a question? Send us an email at ASKLIB@TRL.ORG and staff will answer your question and provide assistance within 24 hours, and often same day! If you prefer a more immediate interaction, you can click on the little blue circle with the white conversation box in it that appears on each of the TRL.ORG pages. That’s our LiveChat service, where TRL staff are waiting to chat with patrons and provide help online. Check it out!
We’ve been engaging with patrons on our social media as well. If you use Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, you can follow us to find cool posts and timely info about what’s going on in our community and in library-land. Check us out at Facebook , Instagram, and Twitter.
Even though it’s been a little challenging with our remodel, our programming specialists and librarians are still helping out with District-wide virtual programming. We’ve been offering everything from story times to kids/teen hangouts to demo craft programs to special speakers of interest. Except for a few joint Summer Library Programs, most of the programs are presented entirely by TRL staff. We’re holding back on spending too much Friends money at the moment, in the hope of being able to use it when we can have in person programs again. If you’d like to see the virtual program offerings, the calendar is here: https://events.trl.org/
All library buildings remain CLOSED to the public until further notice. Information can be found on our website at trl.org/health-safety-updates. Discover LIBRARY …
LIBRARY REMODEL UPDATES
I know, this is what you were waiting for, right? ?
I’m happy to report that so far the remodel is under budget and pretty much on schedule! There’s been a COVID-related delay on the casework for the check-in room until the end of September, so it will likely be in October when everything gets done and the front desks get delivered, but everything else is on track to be finished up this month. As of August 31st, here’s where we’re at:
Framing is done and drywall work is being finished on the new rooms (adult services office, family restroom, check in room)
Once the drywall is finished, the new carpet for the central service area will be installed (hopefully next week!)
All the furniture has been ordered and 13 new task chairs and 8 new staff office sit/stand desks were delivered last week! The new task chairs are replacing our cloth ones with lovely health-care grade vinyl seating and arms, very easy to keep clean and sanitized. All staff are making good use of the new furniture.
Tags Trophies in Lacey has provided a generous $1,500 in kind donation to redo ALL of our current donor plaques into a new system that will more easily allow new names to be added in the future. The current style of plaques that were in the lobby are no longer available. The new donor wall will be in the library proper, on the wall where the current Staff Picks and Lucky Day books are. This will allow all patrons who visit to pass and see the donors as they return their items to the inside book drop. We will be reusing some of the original donor plaques, particularly the gorgeous steel embossed picture of the library building. It’s going to look great!
In addition to the remodel, TRL has also been working with the City on some additional facility improvements related to COVID. We’ll be converting the east rear emergency exit into a staff entrance with a compact gravel ADA accessible path from the front sidewalk, lighting, cover, and bike racks beside the door. This will cut down the amount of traffic using the single front entrance and allow for better distancing. The City is also allowing TRL to install (at TRL’s expense) two service windows (like drive-thru windows) on either side of the main entrance, so we can continue Takeout service throughout the wet and cold winter weather. We are also exploring the possibility of an additional covered structure for the sidewalk leading up to the main entrance to provide more cover for patrons using this service.
POSSIBLE SERVICE EXPANSIONS
Nobody expects a global pandemic. This pandemic has fundamentally changed how libraries provide service, and we don’t know if we’ll ever get back to a ‘normal’ pre-COVID time again. However, we take seriously our commitment to provide the best services to the most people as safely as we can, so right now all TRL staff at all of our locations are brainstorming how to build on our services in the upcoming months while still keeping staff and patrons safe.
Things we are looking at trying to do (hopefully by early November, if COVID conditions allow) are:
Allowing patrons to make an appointment to come into the building (maybe the meeting room) to use a computer/print/scan/fax for a specified period of time.
Checking out Chromebooks for use in the parking lot or overnight.
Increasing holds pickup hours to more closely resemble our building hours pre-COVID.
Opening up book drops at the Fire Stations in Hawks Prairie.
The TRL Board of Trustees is also looking at the feasibility of setting up an additional limited service point, staffed by TRL staff, somewhere in Hawks Prairie now that the coffee shop has decided to no longer host our kiosk (the coffee shop is under new ownership and was not able to continue our hosting agreement). If such a service point is approved, it will likely be staffed by current Lacey staff.
Lacey Timberland Library now has 22 active staff (down from 31 in 2018) as a result of transfers, staff on leave, etc. Effective September 15, our supervisor Matt has accepted a reassignment to be an Operations Supervisor at Yelm Timberland Library, and we will be getting Librarian 2 Liz Boston from OL as a new supervisor to replace him. We’re sorry to be losing Matt but happy he will still be in our TRL family, and we’re VERY happy to be getting a highly trained TRL veteran like Liz as an additional supervising librarian at Lacey. So far TRL has managed to avoid layoffs in this uncertain financial time by offering retirement incentives and reassigning staff to areas where they are needed.
That’s all I have for now! I’ll plan on doing another one of these at the end of September so you all know what’s going on.
Stay safe and we miss you!
Holly Paxson, Library Manager
Lacey Timberland Library