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Library continues optional masking for patrons

Patrons of the James V. Brown Library will not be required to wear masks, according to Barbara McGary, executive director.

In her report to the library’s Board of Trustees, McGary said that the governor has not mandated anything specific for libraries.

“The Office of Commonwealth Libraries encourages libraries to make local decisions,” her report stated.

“Our children’s staff conducted children’s programming wearing masks. Our public service staff wear masks at the desk. We’re keeping an eye on the numbers,” McGary told the board during its meeting Thursday.

“So currently we’re offering in-person programming and have scheduled that through the fall,” she added.

McGary noted that Dana Brigandi, development and marketing and programming director, is preparing her team to develop virtual alternatives the in-house programs in the event that a transition becomes necessary.

“It’s a difficult time for us,” she said. “We’re keeping an eye on things. We’re making sure that we’re following CDC requirements, but right now there’s been no change for our mask policy.”

McGary said that it would be “really, really difficult to enforce a mask policy in this library. You don’t want to put that burden on our frontline.”

Her report also noted that there were 6,088 in-person visits to the library and 6,090 individual visits online.

“In a pandemic, thinking about in-person visits compared to last year, at the end of the year if we stay steady, we’ll be 104,000 in-person visits over last year,” she said.

In other business, the library board approved a deaccession policy which defines the process by which objects of value, such as works of art, artifacts, rare books and similar materials, are permanently removed from the library’s collections. The library’s current collection was appraised at $262,750 in 2005.

According to the policy, if items from the collection are sold, the proceeds from the sale must be used to purchase new collected items or to provide for the care of the existing collections, or both. Specific criteria for deaccessioning items in a collection as well as the disposition of the objects are detailed in the policy.

The board also approved two changes to the library’s Board of Trustees policy.

McGary noted that one of the changes addresses what happens when there is a major concern.

“For example, a public censorship challenge,” she said.

The change in the policy states “the executive director will refer any major concerns to the Board of Trustees so they can deliberate on it.”

In an update on the Author Gala, Brigandi noted that all the VIP Sponsorships are sold out. The Gala, which is the library’s main fundraiser, will be held Oct. 6 at the Community Arts Center. The online auction, which is held in conjunction with the Gala, goes online Sept. 22 for bidding and will be left up for two weeks, closing at 10 p.m. the night of the event.

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