November 25, 2020
This Thanksgiving will likely look very different for many families as we grapple with the rising COVID-19 infection rates in our community. Earlier this week, the Mid-America Regional Council’s COVID-19 dashboard (which I closely monitor and check daily) was showing 5,787 new COVID-19 cases for the past week and a 40.4 percent positivity rate in our metro.
These statistics, along with recently updated guidance from local health officials who are advising lower building occupancy rates to promote social distancing (along with wearing masks and practicing good hygiene), have been the Library’s primary motivation to maintain limited service levels and enhance as many virtual services as possible.
The recent spike in local positive test rates, as well as the closure of multiple MCPL branches due to staff illness, has prompted the Library’s leadership team to revert to curbside or drive-through service only for the time being. In addition, the entire Library system will take an extended “Thanksgiving Break” from 5:00 p.m. today (Wednesday, November 25) through Sunday, November 29, to help us be in the best possible position to continue to provide service through the end of the year.
Although our team has been eager to resume more services and return to some semblance of normal, our top priority is—and will continue to be—safety. We are listening to our public health officials on how to balance the desire to provide service with the need to preserve the safety of our community.
So, as we head into this holiday of gratitude, I wanted to take a moment to thank you. We know you miss browsing the shelves, coming to storytimes, and gathering inside our community rooms. We know that this “new normal” is certainly not perfect. It is not what I want, and I know it is not ideal for you and your family. I hope you’ll try our virtual programs, our downloadable eBooks, and our concierge-level book selection service (call your local branch for recommendations!). On behalf of all the Library staff, I want to thank you for your incredible patience. We are grateful for you and cannot thank you enough.
Each and every day, our leadership team meets to discuss our current processes and procedures. We talk about what’s working, what’s not, and what we can do to better serve our community without sacrificing safety or contributing to community spread. And while I can’t tell you what the future might hold, I can promise you that we will continue to put careful thought and consideration into each and every decision that is made. Our community is at the heart of everything we do, and we are thankful that we have the opportunity to serve you.
From all of us at MCPL, we wish you and your loved ones a happy and healthy holiday, and express our appreciation for allowing us to be part of your lives.
Steven V. Potter
MCPL Director and CEO
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