We do what we do because we love working with you, and we can’t wait to see you again. Unfortunately, that time is not soon. On the evening of Monday, July 20 — at the same time that Stevenson High School leaders were announcing their decision to provide remote-only instruction this fall to help keep the community safe — the Vernon Area Public Library board affirmed the management's recommendation that the library building remain closed. The building closure will continue until public interaction no longer poses a danger to the health of our community.
In the meantime, library staff continue to provide services through safe, contact-free methods including curbside delivery of materials you’ve placed on hold, chat and phone assistance, online programs, and e-books and other digital resources. We are expanding these services all the time.
Curbside hours are now 9 AM–7 PM Monday–Thursday and 9 AM–4 PM Friday and Saturday. The order limit has been increased to 10 items per library card. Museum passes and 3D printing are now available through online request and curbside pickup. Remote printing and Book Bundles, themed stacks of books for checkout, are coming soon.
The decision to keep the building closed was based on reasons both philosophical and practical. At its core is the conviction that the library should use every opportunity to support public health and avoid contributing to community transmission of the coronavirus.
Practically, for this building, we must make a choice between providing curbside service or allowing public access. We cannot do both. The logistics of curbside service, with recommended distancing for employees, spill work spaces out of back rooms and into the main library space. All cardholders have equal access to library materials through curbside pickup. That would not be true if we switched to an open building.
The situation is evolving. Understanding of the virus and how it is transmitted is developing all the time. So far nothing has been revealed to suggest that more public interaction is a good idea. But if that changes, library leadership will revisit this decision. Until then, we are focusing resources on safe ways to provide library services to all residents of the district. If you’re a resident and don’t have a card already, get one here.
There’s a lot in the works. So, check back often. Or get updates in your inbox by signing up for occasional emails from the library.
Libraries are for everyone. It’s more than just a slogan. It’s the foundation of what we believe.
It is clear now more than ever that being “for everyone” comes with a responsibility to stand up against racism. Which is why we must speak up now.
Our Black and Brown neighbors are hurting and have been for far too long. We see that pain. And we see that we have room to do better for our own employees and for our community.
It is not enough for us to just continue to avoid blatantly racist actions. We must be actively anti-racist. As a public institution, it is our responsibility to closely examine our policies and practices to make sure they serve all of our public equitably.
Today, we pledge as an organization to prioritize equity, diversity, and inclusion in everything we do. And not with vague platitudes. With concrete, measurable actions.
By the July 20 board meeting, we will present a plan on how we intend to move toward more just and equitable practices in hiring, employee development, collections management, cataloging and programming. How we intend to center our practices on those institutional values.
We will not have all the answers in six weeks. But we will show our work. And you can hold us accountable for making progress.
This problem is unquestionably bigger than us, but we are committed to making sure we are addressing our part. We can do better. We will do better.
The best time to start was before now. The second best time to start is right now. And so we will.