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Colorado Public Libraries: Health Guidance by COVID-19 Phase

Introduction

CDPHE, Colorado State Library, CDE and the Governor's Office worked together to develop this guidance for Colorado Public Libraries.

The guidance has been drafted in light of evolving scientific knowledge about the spread of COVID-19 among individuals, as well as real-world disease control knowledge acquired through months of experience at the state and local level. Input has been solicited from both internal and external stakeholders, and their invaluable comments and suggestions have been instrumental in developing practical, broadly applicable guidance.

The guidance is organized by the level of COVID-19 incidence in the community: Stay at Home (high level of COVID-19), Safer at Home (mid-level of COVID-19), and Protect Our Neighbors (lower level of COVID-19).

These recommendations can change frequently, so we always recommend working with your local public health officials for additional guidance. View more resources on the CDPHE website.

Safe at Home

Wide scale closures, except for critical functions, to reduce hospitalizations and deaths. Gatherings prohibited.

Safer at Home

Partial reopening, around 25-50% with capacity caps, to give public health and health care systems ability to scale their testing, tracing, and treatment capabilities. Small gatherings are okay, but large gatherings are prohibited.

Protect Our Neighbors

Expanded reopening, around 50% without caps, as local outbreaks are managed by strong local systems. Larger gatherings are okay, but mass gatherings are prohibited until there is a treatment or vaccine.

Recommendation for Public Libraries:

Stay at Home = High COVID-19 Incidence in the Community

  • Buildings closed to the public, including meeting room facilities.
  • No in-person services unless designated as critical by the library or governing authority.
  • Wi-fi provided, when possible, outside of the building(s).
  • Remote services for all other patron needs (remote reference, e-materials, virtual events, etc.).
  • When possible, with approval of the governing authority, continued use of checked out library material without fines or fees (automatic renewal).
  • Staff work remotely as much as possible.
  • Limit on-site staff activities for critical functions that must be performed on-site, to comply with local and state health orders for onsite occupancy, PPE, face coverings, cleaning and disinfecting, and physical distancing. Limit critical activities that must be performed on-site to groups of 10 or fewer.

Safer at Home = Moderate COVID-19 Incidence in the Community

  • Continue remote services for all patron needs (remote reference, e-materials, virtual events, etc.) as much as possible, including wi-fi outside of the building.
  • Rigorous cleaning protocols, including quarantine of materials based on industry standards, including sanitizing computers and surfaces frequently, and frequent cleaning and disinfecting of high use areas such as bathrooms.
  • Curbside service when possible and/or necessary, with locally mandated safety measures and by appointment as needed.
  • Limited walk up service when feasible, with locally mandated safety measures.
  • Contactless services, such as home or mail delivery of library materials, when feasible.
  • Library material returns, following recommended quarantine and/or cleaning practices based on industry standards.
  • Continue automatic renewal for items checked out to allow continued use of checked out library material without fines or fees, with approval of the governing authority.
  • Limited building access for the public, with indoor spaces arranged to accommodate for social distancing and face coverings.
  • Computer use sessions by appointment when possible and/or necessary, limited by overall capacity of building and computer lab, following recommended social distancing practices.
  • Browsing library shelves, limited by overall capacity of building, with considerations for social distancing, flow of foot traffic, and cleaning of handled materials.
  • Other individual in-person services by appointment when possible and/or necessary, limited within capacity of building.
  • Staff work remotely when possible.
  • Limit on-site staff activities to functions that must be performed on-site, to comply with local and state health orders for onsite occupancy, PPE, face coverings, cleaning and disinfecting, and physical distancing.

Protect Our Neighbors = Low COVID-19 Incidence in the Community

  • Expanded building access to the public, including the provision of in-person services, not to exceed 50% capacity unless otherwise allowed by local health variances
  • Continue remote services for patron needs (remote reference, e-materials, virtual events, etc.) as much as possible, including wi-fi outside of the building.
  • Rigorous cleaning and disinfecting protocols, including quarantine of materials based on industry standards, sanitizing computers and surfaces frequently, and frequent cleaning and disinfecting of high use areas, including bathrooms.
  • Continue to focus on recommended social distancing practices.
  • Continue curbside pickup and delivery services when possible.
  • Continue computer use sessions by appointment when possible and/or necessary.
  • Continue other in-person services by appointment when possible and/or necessary, with locally mandated social distancing.
  • Patron browsing and spending time in the library permitted with locally mandated social distancing and face coverings.
  • Limit furniture options available for spending time in the library, with indoor spaces arranged to accommodate for social distancing recommendations.
  • Limit the duration of patron visits to accommodate demand or occupancy, when necessary.
  • In-person services and programs for groups should adhere to acceptable gathering limitations (as determined by state order and local public health), with strict social distancing. Staff and performers should be included in the person count for the gathering, unless exempted by state or local order.
  • Determine what other restrictions and/or expanded services are best for your community, in consultation with local public health officials.
  • Limited in-person staff to provide necessary in-person services; allow other staff to work remotely when possible.
  • Limit on-site staff activities to functions that must be performed on-site, to comply with local and state health orders for building occupancy, PPE, cleaning, and distancing.

For more information or questions, email Nicolle Davies or Crystal Schimpf