Appalachian Regional Library, with public libraries in Ashe, Watauga, and Wilkes Counties, announced a new campaign to help keep its libraries open and serving the public during what may be a long and hard pandemic winter. “Wear It Like You Mean It” focuses on the requirement for everyone to wear a mask or acceptable face covering in the right way – covering nose to chin – and to wear it at all times while in the library.
“The best information we have right now tells us that when everyone wears a mask, everyone is more protected from the virus,” Jane Blackburn, ARL Director, points out. “Library staff have been wearing masks for months now, and we will continue to do so until advised to stop by health authorities. People coming into our libraries must also wear masks, and wear them correctly.” Blackburn added “We will of course follow the governor’s directions to allow exceptions as listed in his executive order, but if you have a condition that keeps you from wearing a mask, we encourage you to use our curbside service.”
The library’s expectations are that library visitors come into the building with a mask on, that it securely covers nose and mouth, and it is worn for the duration of the visit. We request that if you are sick – especially with a fever, cough, or shortness of breath — you do not enter the library.
ARL libraries have implemented all the recommended safety precautions, plus some. Staff wear masks at all times, wash hands frequently, and work at least six feet apart. Frequently touched surfaces are disinfected often. Free or low-cost masks are offered to library users. Libraries have marked six-foot distances and one-way directional arrows on the floors where appropriate so that library users are reminded to keep their distance from one another. When library materials are returned, they are quarantined for several days before being put back on the shelf. Library users are encouraged to make their visits short, or to use Curbside Service and have their materials delivered to them in the parking lot.
Blackburn’s final comment: “We welcome library users to visit our libraries, but remind everyone: Wear It Like You Mean It. Help us keep our communities safe and healthy!”
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