Goshen Public Library opens to less hours

Goshen. The Goshen Public Library & Historical Society has survived the COVID-19 pandemic and has opened to limited operation for its patrons. Mask-wearing and social distancing rules apply, and there will be a 30-minute limit to computer usage.

16 Nov 2020 | 04:13

The Goshen Public Library & Historical Society is alive and well. The doors are open and welcoming patrons.

The new library at 366 Main Street had its groundbreaking on June 11, 2017, and its grand opening on July 13, 2019, but it was only a short time later that the highly anticipated library had to close its doors, offering only virtual services.

“The community rallied for this library and we look forward to full operation,” said Matt Gomm, Director of the Library.

Although full operation hasn’t happened yet, the library staff has given great thought and energy to providing many in house services, while keeping patrons’ safety in mind.

Mask wearing is mandatory for all who come into the lobby, as checked by a greeter, who also maintains a head count for each floor—only 10 at a time for each of the two floors.

She also asks that all who come to use a sign-in sheet for contact tracing, if needed, and she assigns each guest a 30-minute time span for library browsing. Of course, said Gomm, if the library isn’t at full capacity, the time can be extended.

The same is true for computer usage. The 30-minute time limit can be flexible, if no one is waiting to use a computer. To set up an appointment for using a computer, either come to the reference desk to reserve a time or call the reference desk at 294-6606 to set up an appointment. Gomm noted that Wi-Fi coverage has been expanded to the parking lot, patio, and peripheral of the building 24-hours each day.

The staff is instructed to wipe down each computer after it is used. Additionally, a full-time maintenance person is on hand, equipped with a high-grade food sanitizer to ensure thorough—and safe-- cleaning.

“We have a remarkable staff here,” said Gomm, explaining, “They’ve devised flexible, ingenious ways to provide services.” He’s “amazed” how seamlessly the staff moved from in person services to digital, learning how to use film and editing videos. “I’m floored by their ingenuity.”

Gomm also has high praise for the Library Trustees. Noting that they are “very supportive, allowing the staff to make decisions and being responsive to the needs in a positive way during these times.”

The library director is looking forward to the library being fully open once more.

“Digital is great, but it’s no substitute for being in the building, having community members interact, offering programs,” Gomm said. “We want to be able to serve the community as a structure, not just offering books and data space. I’m optimistic that full services will return soon. This is a beautiful building, we have to show it off.”

Gomm realizes that the library’s location in Salesian Park adds an element of safety for park users. “As an anchor it provides a safer environment at this site. “It’s certainly a jewel in the park,” he added.

Lastly, for the safety’s sake, patrons are asked to return all borrowed books to an outside depository, and gloves are offered for indoor browsing while handling shelved books.