TRANSCRIPT: IHLS Directors' Chat - January 6, 2022


Directors' Chat
January 6, 2022


IHLS Admin:  Happy New Year, everyone!
Jo Keillor - Greenville Public Library:  Brrrr!  Is everyone staying warm?
IHLS Admin:  So far, Jo!
Vicki M Carr South Macon Public Library:  Happy New Year!!
IHLS Admin:  Hope all of you had good holidays!  How's the virus treating your communities this week?
Sherry Waldrep - Allerton PL:  I just checked out numbers - according to the CDC we  are high
Vicki M Carr South Macon Public Library:  I had 2 older patrons call me yesterday to renew their books because they have it.
IHLS Admin:  Awwww..... hate to hear older people dealing with  this.
Vicki M Carr South Macon Public Library:  Me too but hopefully it is the easier variety.
Sherry Waldrep - Allerton PL:  our health dept doesn't update numbers regularly - I learned that the CDC has a county tracker -
Veronika Parrone- Sallie Logan Public Library:  I'm out of the office with COVID and hear a lot of others in our community got it over Christmas or New Years
IHLS Admin:  Yep, I really appreciated Amanda McKays's comments in the listserv that it will spike quickly and fall quickly.  Veronika, I hope you're not too sick.
Veronika Parrone- Sallie Logan Public Library:  Thank you, I'm triple vaxxed so haven't had too bad of symptoms
IHLS Admin:  Sherry, thanks for the link---that should be helpful.
Veronika Parrone- Sallie Logan Public Library:  Is anyone doing anything special because of the spike in cases? We had planned on starting lots of programming at the beginning of the year and now we have some staff that are apprehensive.
Sherry Waldrep - Allerton PL:  we are still going ahead with our programs
Esther Curry--CE Brehm Memorial PLD:  One staff has COVID, one staff's daughter's daycare just closed because of COVID, and we've had multiple staff out with non-COVID illness. I'm ready for warm weather
IHLS Admin:  We've seen more adjustments in our school districts than in public libraries.  But, there's been plenty of talk about curbside on the listserv.  So sorry, Esther!!!!
Sherry Waldrep - Allerton PL:  our story time numbers are usually low. One new program on Tues had no one show up.  We have another new program scheduled tomorrow and one on Sunday.  If no one shows, at least I can predict why
IHLS Admin:  Especially during this period immediately following the holidays and gatherings that come with them.
IHLS Admin:  I hope you all  know that certification is open for 2022.  So, if you're the person who takes care of that for your library, make sure you complete the ILL Traffic Survey and then do the certification.  Anna and I will be forever grateful!
Sherry Waldrep - Allerton PL:  where do I access the ILL Traffic Survey
IHLS Admin:  Counting Opinions.   Here's a link:
IHLS Admin:  Sherry, you can also access it from the State Library's webiste or L2
IHLS Admin:  This might be an easier link:
Jo Keillor - Greenville Public Library:  Illinois Department of Public Health also has a website.  For Region 4 go to
Sherry Waldrep - Allerton PL:  since I am new to all this - I don't see the words 'traffic survey'.  I see IPLAR and Interlibrary Loan - am I missing something?
Veronika Parrone- Sallie Logan Public Library:  Off topic, I've been doing final touches on the Per capita, and I can't get my branch number to input. It keeps telling me 0 is an invalid input. I'm not sure why it's doing what it's doing and how I'm supposed to fix it.
IHLS Admin:  Also,, at the risk of sounding like a commercial,, please consider participating in one of ILA's Library Legislative Meet-Ups.  They're virtual and free and it's a great opportunity to show support for your libraries.  The event for Central Illinois will be February January 28th and the event for the Metro-East and Southern Illinois will be on February 14th.  Here's that link: (Corrected 1/7/2022)
Jo Keillor - Greenville Public Library:  @Veronika, try 00.
Debbie Greene:  Is there any kind of "technology" museum of sorts in Illinois?   I know that may sound strange, but there is a huge piece of equipment in glass inside a closet here that was used to run a time and temperature setup when this was a bank.  I am wondering if it might be a piece of history worth preserving - if nothing else to show how things have changed.....
IHLS Admin:  Debbie, there's the Illinois State Museum.  @ Sherry, if you go to the link above from Library Learning, you'll see ILLINET Statistical Survey and that's what you want.  You can always call Anna or I and we'll walk you through it.
IHLS Admin:  Veronika,  I think that Jo is correct.
Debbie Greene:  Does the Illinois State Museum keep or display things like this?
Veronika Parrone- Sallie Logan Public Library:  Thank you, that worked! I didn't think of that!
IHLS Admin:  If they don', they might have an idea of a good home for the equipment.
Debbie Greene:  OK.  Thank you.
Jo Keillor - Greenville Public Library:  @Veronika - No worries.  I had the same issue when I first started four years ago.
Michelle Sawicki Barclay PLD:  We are still going to go ahead with a couple programs this month but I am doubting many people will show. The regulars are asking for take and makes.
IHLS Admin:  What other things are popping up in this New Year?
Jackie CAMP:  I had covid a few weeks ago and now one of our staff has exposed nearly all of the rest of our staff. So it may just me and one other person to keep us up and running. We have paused all programs as we have had 4 folks pass away in our small community from covid in the last 2 weeks
Jackie CAMP:  I was wondering if anyone else is experiencing low holds request? We have hardly had any lately
IHLS Admin:  Oh,  Jackie ----that's tough!!  Make and takes have certainly become a staple resource, haven't they, Michelle?
Ginger - Athens:  We were closed the week between Christmas and New Years for the first time ever. We have really low numbers that week and I knew closing would help with our budget. While we were closed, I shared on social media pictures of the adventures our stuffed Clifford was having in the library. I knew quite a few people were engaging with the posts online, but nearly every person who has come to the library has mentioned them this week! Clifford posted 1-2 times per day and I prescheduled all the posts so I didn't have to do anything during my time off!

Michelle Sawicki Barclay PLD:  We are strategic planning. If anyone has a list of questions they asked for their community survey, I sure would appreciate if they'd send me a copy:
Jackie CAMP:  Can we do online story times does anyone know if we are still able to use books without breaking copyright
Amy Byers - Chatham APLD:  Michelle, I can send you some questions.  We just completed our plan... after starting to work on it pre-covid. It's nice to get it done
Michelle Sawicki Barclay PLD:  @IHLS, they sure have. I am not sure our patrons will ever want us to stop them. The only thing that concerns me is that we have to list them as passive programs then and so our programming numbers change.
Michelle Sawicki Barclay PLD:  That would be wonderful, Amy!
Jackie CAMP:  I love that @Ginger
IHLS Admin:  Ginger, that's fun! 
Jackie CAMP:  Amy I would love to see your list.
IHLS Admin:  Don't worry about your numbers, Michelle.  Everyone knows exactly why they've shifted and many (if not most) library agencies are in the same boat.
Ginger - Athens:  You can check Athens Municipal Library's facebook page or search #cliffordatthelibrary to see the other pictures. We are printing the pictures here and hanging them on a bulletin board of "things to do at the library"
Michelle Sawicki Barclay PLD:  @Ginger, that sounds fun! And that is a good week to close!
Jo Keillor - Greenville Public Library:  @Jackie, I am wondering the same thing.
Jackie CAMP:  I am sorry that is the last 3 weeks not 2
Amy Byers - Chatham APLD:  Sure, @Jackie.  Pester me if I don't get them to you today.  We're shifting to online programming on Monday.  Our bookstore/cafe will be closed and we're limiting people for meeting rooms. IT's a fun time.
Michelle Sawicki Barclay PLD:  @IHLS, I appreciate that! But someone who used to work here keeps complaining (even to my board) that our numbers are down so I feel this pressure to try to get them back up...and amidst Covid, that has not been easy.
Jackie CAMP:  I sympathize with you, Amy. We had big hopes for the new year,
Ellen Popit:  @Amy, well, at least we're all very skilled in the COVID pivot!
Jackie CAMP:  Michelle, I felt the same way and I was dreading coming to work and feeling so down but then I heard it is widespread so I quit taking it so personally.
Amy Byers - Chatham APLD:  @Michelle, at our last medium pubs, someone put it this way.. We can't look back at 2019 numbers.  We have to assume that we are back at 0.  So we are essentially starting over.  So, your numbers might be low, but that's okay. You're starting over, not looking back.  Sorry I can't remember who said it, but I thought it was very smart and wise
Ellen Popit:  I also think there are plenty of people in communities who are applauding agencies that are very thoughtful about their patrons and public health---and that's just what all of you have been doing for almost two years!
Jackie CAMP:  I love that Amy thanks for sharing because we are all looking at pre-covid numbers
Michelle Sawicki Barclay PLD:  @Amy, I am really struggling with the meeting room situation. Ours is so small and we have a group of elderly women who are meeting in there and taking their masks off to eat snacks and drink coffee. I see them and think, Eeeek!  But they are Friends of the Library and have been pushing to have us reopen the meeting room and so here we are. I worry too much! Or maybe I am too much of a realist. Not sure which. Our Lions Club had a holiday meal and now several of the elderly folks have Covid. :( And I worry about them too...
Michelle Sawicki Barclay PLD:  @Amy, good advice. I just wish the person who used to work here who keeps complaining could hear those things!
Amy Byers - Chatham APLD:  Michelle, that's when your board should step in and help guide you.  Meeting rooms are hard.  I put out something today for all of them that said, hey, we aren't cancelling you right now, but we could be forced to due to rising cases and/or lack of staffing.  I'm hoping the warning will get them to realize that they need to be thinking of other options to meet than us
Amy Byers - Chatham APLD:  It's so hard without state guidance, but we never really had it in the first place, did we
Michelle Sawicki Barclay PLD:  @Amy...that is what I keep waiting for...the state guidance. Because all through Covid I have deferred to, "we follow the state guidelines." Seems we are not going to get any this time and the hospitalizations are higher than they have ever been.
Jackie CAMP:  no we did not
Ellen Popit:  We're been relying a lot on the CDC as our "buck stops here" resource.
Amy Byers - Chatham APLD:  Yeah... I feel you.  I think that's when I'd say,  My job is to keep our staff and patrons safe while using the library.  Not wearing your mask in our meeting rooms is a safety issue that I have to take very seriously
Ellen Popit:  I think over the last two years so many of you have taken on more of an enforcer roll than you ever would have imagined. 
Michelle Sawicki Barclay PLD:  @Ellen, it's hard to follow the CDC anymore. I used to think their advice was like angels speaking from the clouds. But now it seems everyone just wants to save the economy (which is important). I am just not feeling too great about the whole, no symptoms, then you can go back to work after 5 days. I am not sure I want Covid positive employees in here after they have only quarantined for 5 days. What if they get really sick on day 6 or 7? Now they have been mixing with everyone else and everyone will probably get it. It isn't like everyone has a N95 mask...
Ellen Popit:  Michelle, our HR director has mentioned how confusing the last set of Directives from the CDC was.  I'm a big fan of significant quarantines!
Michelle Sawicki Barclay PLD:  @Amy, thanks for the advice on how you would handle the meeting room situation.
Veronika Parrone- Sallie Logan Public Library:  I agree that the CDC isn't giving people enough time to recover from COVID and they're unrealistic in imaging people can keep well fitting masks on during the entirety of the day. It's hard to get staff to maintain wearing their masks if there are no patrons in the building
Julie Jarman (Staunton):  Hi everyone
Anna Yackle -IHLS:  Sorry I was having trouble logging in but I am here now
Ellen Popit:  The masks are a big concern!!!!
Julie Jarman (Staunton):   I ve been reading all the information- and the discussion about safety protocals- We ve been hit hard here in Staunton this week like many others. It has been a challenge
Anna Yackle -IHLS:  What would be the most help for all of you based on past experience?
Sherry Waldrep - Allerton PL:  @Veronika - I agree about getting staff to always wear their masks even when there aren't patrons around.  I often see masks hanging off ears, etc.  And I have one staff who constantly states, 'it's just a virus". Any suggestions of what to say?  
Anna Yackle -IHLS:  @Sherry, have you shared what scientific research has and is saying about the current situation?  Yes it is a virus but viruses can kill people.
Michelle Sawicki Barclay PLD:  @Anna, it would be great if the Heartland system had some medical advisors that through all of this could be giving directives as to how libraries should handle Covid as the case numbers change. I suppose that should probably be coming from ILA though? I think a lot of us are feeling like we don't know who to seek out information specific to libraries from.
Amy Byers - Chatham APLD:  @Anna, it would be great to survey membership to see what everyone is doing.  I know it's nice to know that we're not alone in making these decisions.. as quickly  as we have to make them.
Jackie CAMP:  I contacted our local health department and they don't seem to have answers to my questions either. I think the CDC is confusing everyone.
Jo Keillor - Greenville Public Library:  @Sherry - I like what Amy said.  You could tweak it to say, "My job is to keep our staff and our patrons safe while using the library.  Not wearing your mask is a safety issue that I have to take very seriously."
Esther Curry--CE Brehm Memorial PLD:  I know many libraries worked closely with their local Health Department office to get their infomation on dealing with COVID and all the safety measures
Julie Jarman (Staunton):  The CDC, so disappointing.
Jackie CAMP:  We stated that it is our responsibility to keep our community safe and we got good feedback.
Ellen Popit:  That's great, Jackie!
Jo Keillor - Greenville Public Library:  @Sherry - also, has your Board made it a policy that everyone wear a mask?  If so, employees must follow policy.
Michelle Sawicki Barclay PLD:  @Esther, I have been in contact with my health department multiple times. But they are covering such a big umbrella of businesses. It would be great to have something more specific to libraries that we all could refer to.
Jackie CAMP:  But the loss of so many in our small community won't even convince the nay sayers
Esther Curry--CE Brehm Memorial PLD:  @Michelle--so true
Veronika Parrone- Sallie Logan Public Library:  The board for us is supportive, but I agree with Amy that it would be good to have library specific advice. Nothing seems created for us, and other than comparing what libraries in the area are doing, we don't have a lot of great guidance on how to best protect our communities
Julie Jarman (Staunton):  @Veronika, totally agree. Libraries have had to manage by themselves,  on the bright side, Our Health Dept here  has  been great , IHLS and ILA also have been so supportive --
Ellen Popit:  We could certainly take a look at some of the documentation that we had in the spring of 2020 and determine what information/guidance might still be relevant .  Obviously, while keeping out eyes out for omnicron specific information.  The documentation then was a little more specific.
Sherry Waldrep - Allerton PL:  @Jo - I did write down what Amy said- def going to use that - thanks @Amy!  We have COVID guidelines that are board approved but they are more related to a staff person being exposed or testing positive. We wear masks because of the state mandate.  I'm just now thinking I should have added something about wearing masks.
Anna Yackle -IHLS:  I think part of what makes this so tough is that we cover such a broad area and as Esther states your local health department is probably the best source of medical advise.
Amy Byers - Chatham APLD:  I think the best thing we can do is get support from each other.  Knowing that multiple libraries are doing curbside, or cancelling in person programming, helps to build a stronger case for you at your library.
Jackie CAMP:  Our health department has been great too.
Anna Yackle -IHLS:  I will try to think about available resources to call upon and pull information from.
Ellen Popit:  We're at 2:00 p.m. ladies and gentlemen----I'm sure  we'll have more to share next Thursday.  Take care!
Michelle Sawicki Barclay PLD:  @Amy, I appreciate your suggestions. I like the survey idea! I think we are all waiting for someone else to do something so that we can say, "such and such library is doing this." It gives us some ground to stand on.
Julie Jarman (Staunton):  Thanks everyone, appreciate the discussion
Amy Byers - Chatham APLD:  Michelle, Lincoln library just went to online programming.. I'm planning on it too.  There is some for ya!
Michelle Sawicki Barclay PLD:  Thank you, everyone!
Anna Yackle -IHLS:  IWe will definitely give this more thought thank you all for your comments.
Anna Yackle -IHLS:  Thanks all stay warm bye.