A statement and survey on COVID safety at the library

About two months ago, Huntington County went back into an orange status on the Indiana State Department of Health COVID advisory. We were starting to see a sharp increase in COVID cases in the county and there was concern that the upward trend would continue over the coming months. Late August saw COVID cases rise to their highest levels ever in Huntington county.

In order to protect our staff and visitors, the Library decided to expand our face mask requirement for some library activities. These included use of public computers, use of the children’s area, attending indoor programs, and working one-on-one with library staff. We did not, and still do not, require masks in other areas. You can still come to check out materials, use meeting and study rooms, and sit in any of our lounge spaces without a mask (with social distancing, of course). Our staff continues to wear their masks in all public areas to protect each other and our patrons.

We have seen a definite decline in the number of daily COVID cases, and it is our sincere hope that the trend will continue. If it does, we will start to roll back the mask requirements until they are no longer necessary. We would likely begin to remove many of the restrictions when the county goes back to a yellow advisory status. Our goal remains the protection of our most vulnerable populations so that everyone can use the library safely.

We have heard concerns from some that our mask policies are too restrictive, especially in the children’s department. We understand that these policies may make it difficult for some people to use the library. However, we have an obligation to protect all of our patrons and staff.
We will continue to address some of the concerns that have been raised. We are making it clear that those with medical reasons for not wearing a mask will be allowed to use the library as normal. We have addressed concerns about staff responses to patrons, and we will continue to provide training for our staff.

We have also created a survey to understand how our community is feeling about COVID and safety in the library. It is our hope that the information gathered from the survey will help us to inform our policies going forward. If you would like to participate in this survey please do so below until October 5.

The survey is now closed.