Library given go-ahead to start curbside service

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City facilities to remain closed

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A plan presented to partially reopen the Schulenburg Public Library was approved by the City Council at its regular meeting Monday, May 5 as was the recommendation to keep City-owned facilities closed, for the most part, until mid-June.

Thadious Polasek outlined the procedures library staff came up with for curbside pick-up after studying what others have planned or put in place.

Starting May 12, the library will have limited curbside service. It will be available from Tuesday through Friday. Patrons must call in their requests Monday through Friday between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Requests should not be left on the library phone answering machine.

During the patron’s call, a pickup time between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. will be arranged. The books and DVDs will be placed on the bench by the library door for pick up. People picking up the books must wait in their car until the books are placed on the bench and the library staff returns inside the library. If the patron misses their pick-up time, the patron must call and rearrange a new time.

The books and DVDs will only be held for three days and given to another patron if not picked up. This procedure is for the protection of the public and the staff.

This policy will be reviewed and modified based on observed needs, Polasek said. For patron safety, all library materials checked out and returned will be disinfected and quarantined prior to checking them out to the next patron. Due to the cost of disinfecting books, the library is not accepting book donations for our book sale. In addition, the library meeting room is not available for booking. WiFi is available in the library parking lot.

The library will publish the building opening date and safety precautions at a later date. Polasek also went over the many procedures planned once the library opens, including signage for social distancing as well as limitations on visitors and on use of computers. Bathrooms, water fountains, and the children’s room will all be closed, he said, and the library won’t offer fax service or hold its summer programs for youngsters.

Polasek said E-books will be recommended and those checkouts have soared during the library’s closure with 1,138 in April. Hopes are for a cooperative effort with other libraries to provide summer programs online, he said.

The recommendation of City Administrator Tami Walker to keep City parks and rental facilities closed until mid-June was also approved by City Council during the 42-minute meeting held via teleconference.

Walker said she and Operations Manager Darryl Moeller discussed the topic of reopening. With the difficulty in determining how many people could be accommodated with the 25-percent occupancy rule along with the need for added protocols and cost of disinfecting, their suggestion was to wait until state guidelines allowed opening at 100 percent. “If everything opens 100 percent, we should, too,” Alderman Wendy Fietsam said.

In his motion to approve the recommendation, Alderman Larry Veselka stipulated that the item be placed on the Council’s agenda for the June 1 meeting for reconsideration.

Walker said the City currently has no manager for the public pool in Wolters Park so that’s “up in the air.” She specified that the playgrounds at Wolters Park and the Sports Complex are closed. However, her recommendation included opening Wolters Park from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily as long as public guidelines limiting groups and social distancing are adhered to. The gates will remain closed at the Sports Complex, Walker said, but there’s been issues with those who have keys opening the gates. She added that the walking/jogging trail there is open and Police Chief Troy Brenek said that two of the batting cages outside the locked gates are open. Lobbies at the Police Department and City Hall also will remain closed. Walker said the City warehouse staff has ended split crews and all 22 are back at work simultaneously.