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Medina County libraries to reopen in phases; more temporary layoffs

MEDINA, Ohio — The Medina County District Library is planning “a cautious, phased-in return to service” at its seven locations.

The library also announced that it has issued further mandatory layoffs in addition to the voluntary layoffs offered to staff on May 3. The total combined layoff affects approximately 160 staff, leaving about 20 management and administrative staff remaining.

The layoff began May 10 and extends through June 6.

The Ohio Library Council reports that state revenue from the Public Library Fund (PLF) — which accounts for approximately 40 percent of MCDL’s revenue — is down an average of 34.5 percent for the month of May.

Combined with April’s loss in PLF, MCDL’s state revenue is down $151,600 in the past two months alone.

According to MCDL Director Julianne Bedel, “Our managers are working to prepare the buildings and collection for a safe return to service. Staff are arranging the libraries to meet social distancing protocols, preparing for staggered schedules among staff, and ordering protective equipment and cleaning supplies to ensure a safe interaction when we reopen.

“We recently received guidance for safely reopening our book drops on a limited basis. Per the recommendation, items must go in quarantine for three to four days before handling.

“We currently have about 70,000 items checked out, so you can imagine the flood of returns we must plan for when book drops reopen,” Bedel said.

Return to service

On May 11, MCDL managers began contacting patrons who had holds ready for pickup before closure back in March. These patrons can retrieve their items from the libraries’ contact-free Pick Up Lockers, located on the exterior of our buildings.

New holds cannot be placed until at least June 1.

Also on May 11, Outreach Services restarted its Books by Mail program for homebound patrons. Priority is given to those already enrolled in the program, followed by Outreach members who previously received home delivery.

On June 15, a virtual Summer Reading Game will kick off at www.mcdl.info/SummerReading. This popular reading game annually attracts thousands of young people, ages birth to 17.

Coming soon

Live Phone Reference will soon be available during designated times. Staff will answer reference and eMedia questions and eventually begin fulfilling requests — limited to items on MCDL shelves.

Reopening of the book drops during designated times will be announced soon.

Current virtual services

You can still access the libraries’ virtual collection. eMedia including eBooks, eAudiobooks, eMagazines, downloadable and streaming movies, music and TV shows are available through apps at www.mcdl.info/emedia.

Don’t have a library card? Apply for an eCard, and a librarian will email you a new card number to begin accessing digital material.

Research and learning databases such as Lynda.com and Ancestry Library Edition are available at www.mcdl.info/OnlineLearning.

Also on the website, find School at Home and Helpful Resources for managing the new COVID-19 landscape of homeschooling and unemployment and community assistance. Chat online with a librarian for reference or other questions from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

Look for interactive news and events on the MCDL Facebook and Twitter accounts. Enjoy story times with librarians from your local branch every Monday and Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. and the Wednesday Night Book discussion at 9:30 p.m. on Facebook.

Bedel encourages library patrons, “Until we get back to full service, please take advantage of the services and materials we can safely provide, and we will greet you smiling through our masks upon our return!”

Read more from the Medina Sun.

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