Grab and go browsing working well at Alva Public Library
April 18, 2021
The "grab and go" policy for browsing book stacks has been going well at the Alva Public Library. At the end of March, the library allowed patrons, including students from the sixth grade on up, access to books on the first floor of the building. These include adult fiction and young adult books.
Patrons browsing the stacks must wear a mask (provided if needed) and must use hand sanitizer before handling the books. They are also asked to maintain social distancing. Lingering in the library is discouraged with all seating removed except for chairs at the computers. The library is allowing computer use, but time is limited to one hour per day for each patron.
Children younger than sixth grade must be accompanied by an adult and must stay beside the adult at all times. The stairs down to the juvenile book section continue to be roped off with no public access allowed.
At the April 12 meeting of the Alva Library Board, Librarian Sandra Hamilton said everyone has been cooperative in following the rules. She proposed opening the upstairs nonfiction section for browsing with the same rules possibly beginning Monday, April 19, and the board members agreed. The library continues to quarantine books that have been returned for a five day period, which is the recommendation of the state library association.
New Board Members
Board members present for the meeting were Chair Lynn Wilt, Marilyn Clyne, April Ridgway, Len Reed and Chris Eckhardt.
With the change in city council members following the April 6 election, the board will have a new city council representative. Eckhardt did not seek reelection. However, Eckhardt told the mayor he would be willing to fill the open position on the board. That appointment is on Monday's agenda for approval by the Alva City Council.
Looking at the financial report, Hamilton said the library is still within budget although some accounts are running a little closer than she'd like.
She said the library was due for an update to the internet filtering equipment required by the state library association. It usually has to be replaced every three years. However, she has found the library can switch to rental equipment at a cost of $150 per month, which will save money over purchasing.
Like all city departments, the library is working on budget planning. Hamilton said she's been told to expect a flat budget or perhaps even a smaller amount. She asked for a couple of representatives from the board to look over the budget with her. Wilt and Reed volunteered.
Hamilton said people seem to be doing some spring cleaning with the library benefitting. The library has received 193 new adult materials including a number of non-fiction books. She said these include history, self-help and even house plan books. The library can often add these books to their collection. If they have duplicates, then the books will go into the book sale group.
The library is also taking donations of magazines. These are placed on a table where patrons may look through them and take what they want.
Although the library is no longer charging fines for overdue books, they took in $43.31 in March from copies and faxing. The library spent $39.89 from that amount in postage for books mailed.
Hamilton said now that people can browse for books to borrow, they are seeing an increase in the number of book checkouts.
The company working on the malfunctioning elevator came and took out the two motherboards. These will be sent in. One is to be replaced and the other, which is no longer available, will be refurbished. It's hoped this will fix the elevator. The cost is lower than anticipated at $5,600.
The library has used state aid funds to purchase two patron computers and monitors which are now installed. The funds were also used to purchase about 60 percent of the books on this year's Sequoyah list of children's books. The funds also paid for some additions to the library's collection of DVDs and some bins for displaying children's books. A children's display has been set up in the entry of the library to allow young children the opportunity to select their own books. The juvenile section in the basement is still closed to the public.
Hamilton said the library has about $3,000 left in state aid which must be spent this fiscal year. Some will be used for bags for the summer reading program. The library would also like to set up a photo editing station which would require the purchase of a couple of larger monitors. Software can be purchased through Tech Soup which offers libraries price discounts.
Several lights in the highest part of the ceiling at the library are out. Scaffolding has to be brought in to change them. Instead, the library is going to have them switched over to LED like the rest of the lights. The LED lighting is better for books as it does not cause pages to turn yellow. On Friday, there was already scaffolding in place for the work.
Staff training has been virtual due to Covid-19, and libraries in the state are really appreciating the convenience of not traveling to another site. Hamilton said they hope this practice will continue. Amy Ryerson completed two days of classes on computers, a required training session. Hamilton said she's also attended some library meetings virtually.
The Chocolate Fantasy is usually the big fundraiser for the Friends of the Library, but it has been canceled the last two years. The Friends have received a number of donations which will be used to help the library on special projects.