May 14, 2020
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News & Events
at the
Jaffrey Public Library

38 Main Street
Jaffrey, NH 03452

Gesundheit!  Sneezing our way to a great plan

Gesundheit!  Yes, of course, we want to wish you good health, sneeze or no, but did you just sneeze on your library book?  Or touch it after pushing your glasses up your nose? Or read it while munching on some popcorn?

Many people are fastidious in their care of library materials, but more often than not, our books have seen many a dirty day.  Our books have endured everything from wine stains on pages 153 to bologna as a book mark, as well as questionable items put in our book drop on top of our materials.  That is as disgusting as it sounds, and in some cases, when we can't adequately clean or repair, we have to dispose of items as a result.

Now, there's COVID-19, and even though the virus lifespan on library materials -- paper pages, plastic covers, etc. - is being studied, we won't have the results for some time. 
Unlike a retail or grocery store, we have the added challenge that our merchandise travels two ways – into people’s homes and then back again, after very close contact use.   And while we don't want to revive the past book scares, when libraries were suspected of being sources of contagion (When the Public Feared That Library Books Could Spread Deadly Diseases, Smithsonian Magazine, August 23, 2019), we also have a healthy fear of this deadly disease and an even healthier fear of what we do not yet understand about it.

The librarians and the trustees have put on their thinking caps, and we have a plan!  The whole plan is available here, but the upcoming highlights are below.  Like all good plans in times of uncertainty, this plan is flexible and responsive, with the highest commitment to keeping everyone -- staff and public -- safe.

Wishing you good health!

Please feel free to contact me any time at
Kind regards, Julie M. Perrin, Library Director - a.k.a. Ms. Julie

Tiers of Service

We recognize that a busy library with a community focus is a natural vector for virus transmission, which is why we have committed our resources to transitioning 90% of our services online.  We have talked a lot about the books, but we all know that our library provides service far beyond circulating items, and in a typical pre-pandemic week, we had 1,000 visitors a week.

Like restaurants, where dining areas remain closed under the state’s reopening plans, people stay in libraries for extended periods, using computers, doing research, browsing the collection, and attending programs. They engage in close interactions with staff and often each other.  We have the potential of being the virus hotspot so our commitment to safety has forced us to be very creative, while paying attention to the science.  We must keep our community safe.

Our Pandemic Interim Service Plan includes Tiers of Service for the following areas, each with graduated phases that are responsive to the state of community health and our ability to provide that level of service safely, for both the staff and the public.
  • Virtual Services
  • Circulation of Physical Items
  • Programming
  • Technology Services
  • In-person/ In-building Services
  • Community Outreach
Under the Stay-at-Home order, we have provided 100% virtual services, online, by email, and by phone. We have adhered to strict safety protocols for staff and anyone entering our building, and we have set up quarantine procedures for all circulating items, including requiring masks and gloves for staff who are preparing curbside materials.

Going with the restaurant theme, here's a Take Out Menu of our Virtual Services.  (Created by our talented Erin Johnson.)

No-Touch Return Hours (additional time added)

Our first No-Touch Return Hours last week were a great success, even though it rained! THANK YOU for following the guidelines.  Six big bags of books are tucked away safely in the building, without anyone touching them, so they will be ready for check-in next week and for our very eager Library Pages/Aides to get back to the work of shelving, in anticipation of future curbside service.

While we are waiting for more scientific data, we must keep our Book Drop closed, but will continue to offer No-Touch Return hours. We encourage you to use these times ONLY if you are already driving by, on your way to essential services, like grocery shopping.  (Returning your book is not essential during a pandemic.)

How does it work?
  • During the designated times, you will find boxes, lined with garbage bags on our front steps.
  • Please place your returns in these bag-lined boxes.  Please do not wrap the items in additional bags that staff will have to unwrap later.
  • Ms. Julie will come out and tie up the bags to bring them to a quarantine area in the building, without handling the items.
  • Those items will NOT be checked in until the quarantine period of at least one week has gone by, so do not be concerned that they remain listed on your account.
  • You may return any books, movies, or audiobooks, including inter-library loans.
What are the No-Touch Return Hours?
We are starting slowly so that we can manage the volume, as we work out our quarantine process.
  • Monday, May 18 at 10 am - 2 pm
  • Tuesday, May 19 at Noon - 4 pm
  • Friday, May 29 at 10 am - 2 pm
What if these times don't work for me?
No worries! All due dates have been extended, so there is no pressure to return items during these times.
Please do not use the Book Drop so that it stays available for our mail and packages.

Questions? Email us or leave a message at 603-532-7301.

No-Touch "Trunk or Table" Curbside

When we donned masks and gloves at the last curbside service in March, I was filled with mixed emotions if we were being overly cautious or not cautious enough.  I am sure future graduate degrees in library science will include courses in pandemic planning, but the surreal feel of that last curbside will forever haunt me. 
When the Stay-at-Home order is lifted, we will return to curbside service, but will follow a reservation procedure that adheres to social distancing requirements.
Here's how it will work:
  • The first curbside will be scheduled for people who are "offline" -- with whom we are in contact -- and people with online reserves.  If you have a neighbor who is not online, please call them to suggest they call us to get on our first curbside list.
  • Reserve your items.  Reserving through your library account is easy!  Ms. Andrea has prepared a how-to video.  You can watch it here.  If you still need help, call or email us.  Remember that an unavailable item might just be in quarantine, so don't hesitate to reserve as it might be available by the time we have curbside service.
  • A staff member will call people with reserves to schedule a pick-up time. Unlike past curbsides, we will offer limited 15-minute windows so we observe social distancing and don't back up traffic.
  • Will you have crafts available for the kids?  Yes! Ms. Linda has been hard at work, prepping crafts with matching stories!
  • Will we be able to reserve Librarian-choice bundles just in case there's a surge and another extended Stay-at-Home?  Yes! We are working on a way for you to do that online, but it will definitely be an option when you reserve your pick-up time.
  • Trunk or Table? We will ask you when we schedule your pick-up time if you want Trunk or Table.  In order to remain No-Touch for staff, we ask that you pop your  trunk before pulling up to the door or retrieve your bagged items yourself from a table on the lawn, where they will be labelled with your name.
  • Will staff touch my items? We recognize that the asymptomatic/presymptomatic carrier scenario is very scary.  All staff will be masked and gloved when retrieving, checking out, and bagging your items, just so we don't share our germs.
  • When is it?  Should I reserve now? We are waiting on the Governor's order, but yes, reserve now.  We hope to be able to start in early June, pending the Stay-at-Home guidelines.  Regardless, the first reserves will be offered the first pick-up times.
Town Meeting has once again been postponed, until June 6,
location to be determined. 
A young artist's version of VanGogh's Starry Night,
thanks to Artist Afternoon-to-Go! What famous artist will you study with us?
We love bringing our programs into your homes!
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