Library board discusses operations during pandemic


The Jackson County Public Library’s last quarantined staff member came out of quarantine Monday, the same day board of trustees members met via Zoom.

“Right now, we’re good. This is the first time as of today there is not a single staff person in quarantine since last March,” library Administrator Mary Reed said. “I think we are doing so much better with our shifts because we are not having to shut down.”

All full-time staff members also are now working in the Seymour library, but the Crothersville, Medora and Seymour libraries are open for curbside service only because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A reopening date has not been set.

Even when staff members were in quarantine, Reed said it didn’t affect any one department too much, as other staff members were able to pitch in and help where needed.

“We’ve got people from the children’s department learning the circulation desk because that is our most important area,” she said. “They are doing most of the work there with people coming through the drive-thru, so we’re cross-training there to make sure we have everything covered.”

Reed said she believes everybody seems happier because they feel safer working in the shifts, and it seems to be working.

Library Director Julia Aker said full-time staff members are there either in the mornings or the afternoons with the majority being there in the mornings. She said they’ve tried to balance things out a little bit more than they did originally.

Aker said when the buildings open back up to the public, the question as to whether or not to allow computer appointments right away will need to be considered. When the computer room was last open, staff had to get too close to the patrons.

“We’re supposed to be 6 feet apart, but some people don’t understand the computers and needed someone standing right there with them, and staff didn’t feel safe,” she said.

Akers said the libraries reopened Sept. 18, but in one month’s time, they had to shut down again for more than a week because several staff members were out.

During the discussion, library board member Don Myers Jr. suggested they wait until the county gets to the yellow level of COVID-19 community spread and stays there for a certain period of time before reopening the libraries.

Also during the meeting, Myers, recently reappointed to the board by the Jackson County Council, received the oath of office to serve. Jamie McRoy of Medora also was to take the oath of office Monday but could not attend the meeting. She was appointed to the board by the county commissioners and will be taking the oath of office in February.

The 2021 board of trustees officers are President Dan Davis, Vice President Kathy Ellis, Secretary Angie Keasler, Assistant Secretary Sally Crouch and Treasurer Mary Reed.

The board of finance also held its annual meeting during the trustees meeting. Davis was elected president of that board, and Keasler is secretary.

During the financial report, Reed said 10 additional hotspots were purchased for the library from T-Mobile for $547.20.

A portable Wi-Fi hotspot is a pocket-sized mobile router that patrons can take with them to set up an internet connection. The library now has a total of 20 hotspots available to check out for one week at a time.

Reed also reported ultraviolet sanitizers have been installed for $3,500 with funding from an Indiana Humanities grant, and $400 has been donated from the water company for the summer program.

The board also approved extending the time of the July 10 MiniCon by two hours, making it from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. if it can be held.

The board’s next meeting is Feb. 16 via Zoom or at the Seymour Library, dependent upon pandemic status. The meeting is a day later than the usual third Monday due to the Presidents Day holiday.

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