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Shorter Shelf-Life For Quarantine Practice At C.H. Booth Library



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Following evolving pandemic guidelines, C.H. Booth Library still has safety covered for its patrons.

As of April 26, according to C.H. Booth Library Circulation Manager Anne Mastroianni, books and materials will be quarantined for the shortest length of time since the practice first began in 2020.

The shorter — now one-day — quarantine is expected to lead to quicker book and materials check-in processing, which will hopefully be reflected on patrons accounts soon.

“Our patrons have been very understanding all through this year of the different changes and procedures,” Mastroianni said in a recent phone interview. “We really appreciate people being flexible with us as we figure out how to do things.”

The book quarantine practice change was made in line with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Re-opening Archives, Libraries and Museums (REALM) Project, a partnership that creates and distributes science-based information and recommended practices designed to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19, according to the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

C.H. Booth Library Director Douglas Lord said at one point during the pandemic books were being quarantined for an eight-day period.

While the new change is expected to make processing check-ins more quickly reflected on the accounts of patrons, Mastroianni noted that other libraries and towns have different practices, so materials and books requested from other places may still reflect longer waiting periods.

For now, when patrons return books and materials they are still asked to leave them in book drop-off locations outside. Those drop-offs are then moved to the library’s Meeting Room, “and we will leave them there until the next day,” Mastroianni said.

An April 5 briefing from the CDC announced, “People can be infected with SARS-CoV-2 through contact with surfaces. However, based on available epidemiological data and studies of environmental transmission factors, surface transmission is not the main route by which SARS-CoV-2 spreads, and the risk is considered to be low. The principal mode by which people are infected with SARS-CoV-2 is through exposure to respiratory droplets carrying infectious virus.”

Announcements like the April 5 briefing are used to help determine the library’s practices. Cleaning the facility is continuing to occur three times a day for bathrooms and common areas. Disinfectant is used to wipe areas people touch, like computers, according to Lord. Wiping down returned materials is also still a practice.

While the cleaning and other safety efforts are manageable for the library staff, Lord said the quarantine-related procedures still require “a big chunk of time.”

As state pandemic regulations are loosened, Lord said the important thing will be for everyone to continue maintaining proper procedures for mask wearing. Face masks are still required inside the library. Medical exemptions are possible with proof of exemption and a form of identification.

As announced in the Library Notes published in The Newtown Bee recently, “A reminder that masks must be worn properly over your mouth and nose at all times in the C.H. Booth Library, 25 Main Street.

Please contact us for other options if you cannot or will not wear a mask. Contact-free pickup of items by appointment continues on our patio. The library is currently open Monday-Thursday, 9:30 am-7 pm, and Friday and Saturday, 9:30 am-4 pm. For information about our services and to register for programs visit our website, chboothlibrary.org and social media, or contact us by phone at 203-426-4533.”

Mastroianni also said she wants patrons to know “that their safety and the safety of the staff is important, so if any new information comes out, we may have to change any current procedures.”

Friends Of C.H. Booth Library

Friends of C. H. Booth Library President Toni Earnshaw said her group typically follows decisions made by the library, so its quarantine period for materials will also be shortened to one day.

The Friends of C. H. Booth Library’s pods remain outside behind the library, and donations are accepted twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, from 10 am until noon.

“It seems to be working very well,” said Earnshaw about the donation practice.

Earnshaw also thanked Friends of C.H. Booth Library donors and supporters for continuing to wear masks and for following library protocols.

“We are doing all we can to safeguard the health of our volunteers and donors,” said Earnshaw.

C.H. Booth Library is at 25 Main Street. For more information about the library visit chboothlibrary.org, and for more information about Friends of C. H. Booth Library visit boothbooksale.org.

Eliza Hallabeck can be reached at eliza@thebee.com.

A sign outside the C.H. Booth Library Meeting Room, where books and other returned materials are quarantined, reads, “Do not enter. Area temporarily closed. Staff only.” —Bee Photo, Hallabeck
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