May 20, 2020 — Last night, during Governor Beshear’s press conference, all Kentucky public libraries learned that we would be allowed to reopen June 8th.
This is very exciting news, and all public library systems want to be upfront with our communities about what this means—and what it doesn’t mean.
The Governor said specific guidelines and building capacity limits would be forthcoming. Even now, the day after the announcement, we are still waiting for more information. We don’t know exactly what reopening will look like yet. We do know that it won’t be “business as usual.” There will be new rules, new procedures, and service limitations. Some of these may be temporary, and some may be long term.
Before our closure, it was common for over 1,000 people to enter our buildings each day. Hundreds of people each day touched the same books, computers, newspapers, study tables, and bathroom sinks. It was common for 50 or more people to sit in close quarters in our meeting rooms to experience a program together. Young children would play with our iPads and toys and look at books—and then minutes later another child would touch those same books, toys, and iPads. In an environment that is designed for people to browse, linger, and share common resources, reopening in the midst of COVID-19 has serious implications.
We’re eager to welcome you back, and we want to do it safely. All of your government agencies and services are responding to new requirements and situations that are pushing us to partner, compromise, and reconfigure. This will mean we need to go slowly at first, and we might move more slowly or more quickly than our neighboring library systems. We have a lot to figure out in the coming weeks, and we will be able to make more decisions once those additional guidelines are released.
You, our valued patrons, will be kept informed all along the way. We will share new developments as they come on our social media channels and on our website at bcplib.org/coronavirus.
In the meantime, we will be continuing our no-contact Curbside Pickup service and 24 Hour Library access to provide you with the library items you seek, adding more virtual programming for all ages, and providing reference services by phone and chat.
Thank you for your patience and your support as we navigate this new normal, together.
We are now in the third stage of our new phased reopening plan. The exciting news for phase three so far is the return of computer access to all locations! You may book a computer workstation for one 60-minute session per day.
From this point, we will continue gradually restoring select onsite services while keeping local government recommendations and the health and welfare of our staff and patrons top of mind.
Please stay tuned for announcements on our website and social media channels as revamped services are restored. We’ll let you know as soon as different things open back up, including selected spaces and events inside the library itself.
PHASE 1 focused on the equipment and internal procedures that allowed most of our staff to work safely from our buildings. This began on Monday, May 11th. We also opened our book drops for returns—so feel free to bring ’em back whenever you can!
PHASE 2 began with the reintroduction of an improved, contact-free Curbside Pickup service on Friday, May 15th. On Wednesday, May 20th, material requests through the library catalog and BCPL app were reenabled. As of June 16th, holds are limited to 25 items per account.
PHASE 3 began on Friday, June 19th with the restoration of computer access at our Mt. Washington and Nichols branches. Public computer access is now available in the meeting room of each BCPL location. Space and access are limited, and sessions are limited to one 60-minute session per day.
During this time, we are asking that you:
- Join us for a magical summer adventure with SummerQuest! Maybe we can’t offer programs in person just yet, but that won’t stop us from weekly online meetups with our SummerQuest kids for online Summer Tales Show & Tells, from designing exciting virtual escape rooms for you to enjoy, or from presenting oodles of video events ranging from magic tricks to yoga to fairytale storytimes. The Cultural Pass program has gone virtual, too!
- Return items when you are done with them if you are able to do so. But if you can’t, don’t worry! Overdue fees will remain suspended until further notice. We do not want anyone who is sick to feel obligated to return items, and we also understand that there may be other factors affecting your ability or comfort level to return items at this time.
- Please be aware that returned items will not clear from your account immediately. After items are retrieved from our book drops, they will be immediately quarantined for a minimum of 72 hours before they are checked in. This will help decrease risks to our staff and chances of contamination to other library equipment.
- Follow us on Facebook to enjoy a variety of virtual events and keep up with the latest announcements and recommendations for things to do and explore. Find us on Instagram and YouTube, too!
- Remember that we’re all in this together! Take care of yourselves and your families, and we’ll continue doing everything we can to provide the service and resources you’ve come to expect from BCPL, even if we can’t yet do so in person. If there is something we can do to help, let us know!
Your Library: #HealthyAtHome, #HealthyAtWork
While our buildings are only partially open to the public, your library staff continues to serve the Bullitt County community.
- We are offering public computer access, including print services and assistance as needed, in our meeting rooms by appointment. Reservation times are limited, with no more than one 60-minute session allowed per day per person. To schedule a computer station, please call your preferred BCPL location. A maximum of two people per household are be permitted to share a computer station, and visitors are encouraged to wear masks.
- We are available to answer questions, to offer virtual services, and to provide assistance and hopefully a smile or two. You can reach us by phone, e-mail, or our Ask a Librarian chat feature.
- We are accepting Curbside Pickup requests by phone, or you can place holds requests through the library catalog or BCPL app. If you place holds requests online, you will be contacted when your items are ready. Available pickup times are limited, and to begin requests are limited to 10 items per account per pickup.
- We are reaching out to community organizations and at-risk individuals through wellness calls, handmade cards, and more.
- The 24 Hour Library machines, located at Ridgway Memorial Library and the new Nichols branch, are being restocked regularly. These automated machines provide access to physical books, DVDs, Blu-rays, and audiobooks 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
- We invite you to explore our digital media collection and premiere online learning and research tools. We offer e-books, e-audiobooks, streaming movies and television, digital magazines, and more that you can access from home or wherever you feel safe.
- The force is strong with us! If you have a smart device but no internet access at home, our high-speed public Wi-Fi signals have been repositioned to cover the maximum surrounding area possible.
- We are continuously adding new materials, exploring new resources, and developing more virtual program options.
- We are moving cautiously and it might be a while yet, but when we are ready to open up controlled spaces in our buildings for computer use, collection browsing, or small-group programs, we’ll let you know!
Library staff cannot provide medical advice, but we are happy to help you find credible sources to help you make informed decisions about your health.
The local chamber of commerce has compiled a helpful, annotated list of business, community, and shopping resources. Missing your favorite restaurants? They have a list of restaurant carryout options, too!
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are our nation’s premier authority on public health information. Provided information on COVID-19 includes:
- How to Prepare – Recommendations and checklists for homes and families.
- Information for Communities, Schools, and Businesses
- People at Higher Risk and Special Populations
- Situation Summary – Updated regularly, including US case statistics.
- Steps to Prevent Illness
Kentucky Department for Public Health
COVID-19 Hotline: 1-800-722-5725
The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) is responsible for developing and operating state public health programs and activities for the citizens of Kentucky. Find updated Kentucky case statistics and other information and recommendations.
The World Health Organization (WHO) works worldwide to promote health and safety by identifying and responding to health emergencies. In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, they provide up-to-date, reliable information including: