The Swanton Public Library is now open by appointment and for curbside pick-up.
(Full disclosure, the board of trustees felt that I was too hasty in going to curbside-only, hence the rapid change – I apologize for the unnecessary confusion.)
For a good long time, Swanton has been in an enviable position in a county with a low-infection rate within a state with the lowest infection rate. This meant that as other libraries across the state shut their doors we remained open. We limited the amount of people who could come in, sure, and required masks and hand washing, but even that was realistically unnecessary given the few cases we have had.
That’s no longer the case, however. The trigger I set for returning to curbside was if Franklin County reached 400 cases per 100,000, i.e., the next level of infection severity as defined by the state. We hit that number on the day after Thanksgiving, and by the time we actually implemented it a week later the number had increased to 600 per 100,000 – a surge if ever there was one, greater than the initial shutdown in April, and one which will only continue during the winter months.
By and large this is a move that has been replicated across the state. 90 libraries now only allow staff within the building, 18 (including us) are open by appointment only, and the number of libraries staying open (about a third of reporting libraries in Vermont) gets smaller every week. We are actually quite late to the game, so to speak, as most of these closures occured before Thanksgiving.
This is a miserable situation. While I was writing this a woman called to ask if she could use a meeting space to bring a group of children and I had to tell her no, and that I was so sorry that we couldn’t help her. (I actually teared up which is not something I normally do.) She said that she understood and that the most important thing is for people to be safe.
I agree with her. That is the most important thing. I miss every single person who came into the Library – and even though I would roll my eyes when the ceiling shook from children running upstairs…well, I miss that, too. As do all the staff who work here. Staying completely open to the public would essentially be saying “People will be fine…probably.” Probably is not good enough. We are not doctors telling a patient that a procedure has a 95% chance of success so no worries – we are librarians, and that’s too high a risk for a book. And we love books.
We’re going to make this as easy as possible for everyone.
- We’re open six days a week. MWF: 2-6, TThFSat: 10-2.
- Make an appointment by calling the Library at (802) 868-7656. (You CAN knock on the door, but you may have to wait if there’s someone inside already.)
- You can arrange for a pickup by using the form on the home page of our website: just tell us what you want (or reserve items online), select a day and time and come get them – no call necessary. Though you can call, too: (802) 868-7656. Or email.
- If you’re unable to come to the Library to pick up materials, let us know and we can arrange a delivery (within Swanton).
- We now have streaming video at the library! Kanopy has over 30,000 titles for kids, students, classic film nuts, and more.
- We installed a new WiFi hotspot, courtesy of the Vermont Deparment of Public Service. Just connect to “Swanton Hotspot” from the park. (Yes, it’ll be more useful when it’s warm, but you can connect from your toasty car while waiting outside the Post Office, too.)
What a strange time to be alive, amirite? But we’re going to get through this. Stay safe, stay masky, and have a happy holiday.
Caleb Rupp, Director