Original report posted 12:35 a.m. Updated at 1:35 p.m. Updated to note that the computer use will be by appointment only.
FRAMINGHAM – Framingham Public Library Director Mark Contois announced last night, July 20, the Framingham Public Library (FPL) is planning to reopen the library to the public on August 3.
The library has been physically closed to the public since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic,
When the library re-opens in August it will be by appointment only, and for computer use only to start, explained Contois.
“We know that many Framingham residents rely on us for access to the Internet and we are working with the City to do this in a measured and safe way,” said Contois.
Currently, the Library is offering a curbside pickup service. The service is being offered for both the main library and the Christa McAuliffe branch on Water Street on alternating days.
Library Assistant Director Lena Kilburn said at Monday’s meeting they plan in the next week is to increase the availability of curbside pickup.
At the moment, the goal of the Framingham Public Library is to open the Main Library first. The Christa McAuliffe Branch will open later.
Contois said the hours of operation for the main library re-opening in August have yet to be determined. Staff will base the hours of operation on the hours that patrons need. As such, further detail on the hours will come in the following weeks before the opening of the Main Library on August 3.
Kilburn told Library Trustees staff is currently working on moving around furniture and technology to accommodate for social distancing.
Installation of Plexiglass has been installed at the circulation desk on the main level and the Children’s Room on the lower level. They plan to install plexiglass at the Reference Desk on the top level.
Information & guidelines will be posted and provided in three languages including English, Spanish, and Portuguese. This information will be presented through signs and posters throughout the interior and exterior of the library.
PPE will be distributed to all employees and regular cleanings will be done by staff.
There will also be a requirement for visitors to wear face coverings to not contribute to the possible spread of COVID-19 by asymptomatic individuals.
Staff told the Library Trustees last night that the Framingham Public Library has also been working on installing and testing new software. The goal of the software is to help patrons remotely from the Reference Desk.
Similar to other establishments such as pharmacies, there will be places guests will be guided to throughout the library. The library will be using floor decals, arrows, and stop lines to meet social distancing requirements.
To mitigate the spread of coronavirus via contact with shared materials, the material stacks will not be available to guests.
Materials from the stacks will be gathered by library staff once requested by the patron, whether before or during the visit.
In terms of computer stations, there will be 10 available in the adult area with at least one computer station being ADA accessible and one station designed for two members of the same family. An example given by Contois included a mother and her child.
12 people will be able to allow to be in the adult computer area at a time.
There will be four computer stations available for use in the children’s area.
Guests also must make an appointment to enter the library so that they can control the number of people in it at a time and abide by social distancing guidelines.
The estimated length that a person will be allowed access by an appointment is 45 minutes.
The number of people allowed in the main library at one times was not discussed with Library Trustees, last night.