Librarian shares what life was like during COVID restrictions


A picture of the GlenOak Library.

Maya Bautista, Staff Writer

Students can all relate to the feeling of a new school year, with new classes and no longer being able to see friends. The staff of the Plain Local Library understands as well. 

Since the onset of the pandemic, the Plain Local LIbrary has had to find a way to service Plain Local students and community members at the same time.

COVID-19 has shifted the way libraries run worldwide. From new protocols, to understaffing, to divvying up space.

“We have to have fewer people at our programs because they have to be spaced properly. We ask that all patrons wear masks. Patrons don’t have to wear masks but we do obviously at work and in our programs,” branch manager Kathleen Clay said.

Denise Rose, the GlenOak High School librarian had explained last year how books had taken longer to get to people as they had to have a quarantine period.

“Last year, we had to quarantine the books for three or four days. I forget which but we don’t do that anymore,” Clay said.

The library was divided into two sections. Upstairs is for high school students, only during school hours. Downstairs is for everyone later in the day. 

“Staffing two floors was difficult and keeping that many staff on hand and leasing that much room and not having the statistics to back it up, the circulation, the people coming in to utilize it,” Clay said.

This practical solution also comes with drawbacks as well. 

“Most of the time there’s a lot of people in the bottom area whether it be students that are coming in after school that actually want to work or students just waiting for a ride but I feel like it would be easier to have the top part open as it gets annoying,” sophomore Abby Watson said. Abby Watson is a regular visitor in the library and she’s watched how COVID-19 has changed the library.

This creates a question many people are curious to hear the answer: Will they go back to a fully open library or endlessly keep it separate?

“I don’t think there’s any plans to go back upstairs. Bear in mind, we still maintain the collection of books and make the services available. Our team librarian Todd is available to go upstairs and help people learn how to do research and all that stuff. We miss being up there frankly but you know,” Clay said. 

Regardless, modifications were made to make sure your experience in the library is the best it can be.

“We were just handing out the books to people because they couldn’t come in here and then we were so glad to get back that August and I’m just glad that this staff has been so anxious to come back and do the job,” Clay said.