To the Andover Community,
Kansas and much of our country is preparing to “re-open.” Many of you are looking forward to the Andover Public Library following suit. I assure you that Library staff and our board of directors want to re-open as well. Indeed there is a lot of pressure to do this.
Information Literacy is one of the foundations of libraries. Simply put, as information professionals we gather information and then evaluate the sources of that information so as to make informed decisions. Normally that would be us helping you find information and identifying where it comes from. When we purchase materials for the Library, we look at professional publications to help identify books, CDs, DVDs and other items. As your Library Director, I must look at the professional medical opinions about the COVID-19 virus in our community. Medical experts warn that now is too soon to re-open. This is not necessarily what you are hearing from our politicians and social media influencers.
The Institute of Library and Museum Services, a federal agency, is testing how COVID-19 might exist and transfer itself on library materials. It would be irresponsible to resume material lending until more is known. The safety of Library users and Library staff is too important. I cannot, therefore, agree to sanction a return to full Library operations. Opening the Library must be done in phases to mitigate the harmful effects of this pandemic. I will let you know what this will entail as we become more informed.
Tom Taylor, M.L.I.S.
Andover Public Library