Libraries can be an under-appreciated community resource which in fact provide a range of services.
They offer books and magazines, e-books, recordings, research materials, study spaces, computer and internet access for those who do not have them at home, free wifi for visitors and students.
This post provides some ideas to think about when applying a Carpe Diem Strategy to Libraries
Libraries also provide community meeting spaces.
For example, in my home town, there are community board gaming groups that regularly meet at the library.
My observation, visiting libraries around New Zealand and being involved in the preparation and review on Library Asset Management Plans, is that they are well used by communities and provide a diverse range of important community services.
This amount of community use often makes it difficult to complete major maintenance or capital work without disrupting the use of the library.
My base assumption is that following COVID-19 lockdowns there will be a period of partial lockdown, and then a full resumption of community use of the library facilities.
There will probably be pent-up demand as people want to get out and back to usual routines and activities. So facilities are likely to enter a period of higher use once they reopen.
The COVID-19 lockdowns provide an opportunity to catch up on operations, streamlining processes, updating systems as necessary and undertaking any major maintenance or capital expenditure if it is likely to have been disruptive to the facility.
It is a good opportunity to update asset inventory/register and to undertake condition assessments while everything is quiet.
I have included below a shortlist of possible tasks to consider:
- Review and complete any major deferred maintenance
- If you can bring forward any capital expenditure that would have disrupted operations of the facility. Do this work now, whilst everything is closed
- Update any signage and graphics as necessary
- Review and reconfigure reception areas as necessary to take into account the increased distancing requirements going forward
- Complete any facility painting required
- Undertake inspections and any maintenance of electrical, heating, HVAC, lighting systems
- Have you been considering the installation of LED lighting to save power? This would be a good opportunity to implement a lighting change
- Review your systems and processes – if they need updating now is a good time to do that
- Complete a condition inspection of all assets – revise maintenance schedules and maintenance work as necessary following the inspection results
- Complete book condition reviews and follow up actions as required
- Update book stocks, retire old books no longer used as necessary
- One library I know of has been planning to update all shelving and other signage to both English and Maori. This would be a great opportunity to complete that type of project
- Have you been trying to get more material and information online, but haven’t had the time? This period may provide you with that space
- Update your asset inventory/register with any new assets, and any disposed of assets
- Review your seating, desks, workstations – signage and seating policies for the go forward
- If you had been considering a layout or shelving reconfiguration now would be a good opportunity to action that
- You will need to undertake a thorough clean and disinfection of your facility before reopening
- What do you need to complete this?
- Who do you need to organise?
- Do you need any additional materials, disinfectants etc.?
- Do the planning and get these ordered.
- If any of your parking areas need resurfacing, now is an excellent time to complete that work
- If any of your parking areas need guides and lines repainted, now is an excellent time to complete that work
- If you have grounds and plantings, it is a great time to undertake any required maintenance work on these
Can I encourage you to seize the day and use this unique opportunity to get ahead of work and prepare for the welcome resumption of service delivery at your library facilities?
Also bearing in mind to maintain the required separation distance from each other, and if needed, wearing suitable personal protective equipment (PPE).
Finally, please do not forget your various contractors and service providers. They need work and income as much as anyone else over the next few months.
If there is no work provided this increases with the risk that they will not be available when you need them going forward.
Please communicate with them, share your plans, indicate what work will be required and when so that they can plan to assist you as required.