A Troy Public Library staff member stands behind a wall of plexiglass installed onto the Adult Reference Desk.

A Troy Public Library staff member stands behind a wall of plexiglass installed onto the Adult Reference Desk.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Troy library director discusses reopening plan, revamped metrics

By: Jonathan Shead | Troy Times | Published April 7, 2021

 The Troy Public Library’s meeting room has been transformed into a room for books to quarantine in after they’ve been returned.

The Troy Public Library’s meeting room has been transformed into a room for books to quarantine in after they’ve been returned.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

 Library staff members wait inside for cars to pull up for curbside service. Once they’ve identified the patron and their holds, a staff member will run the reserved books out to the car.

Library staff members wait inside for cars to pull up for curbside service. Once they’ve identified the patron and their holds, a staff member will run the reserved books out to the car.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Advertisement

TROY — New metrics laid out by the Troy Public Library’s recently hired Director Emily Dumas will now begin to shape when the library will open and at what capacity.

Dumas said one of her first orders of business was to reshape the library’s reopening road map. She received several questions from library patrons about when the library would reopen. The library is currently in phase two, curbside pickup only.

Saying she wanted to be clear and transparent with patrons, Dumas sought out guidance from professionals first.

“My whole thought during this whole process has been, even at (the Royal Oak Public Library), I’m a library director. Who am I to determine anything in a public health crisis? What I always look to is relying on the experts, and I always sought out any sort of metrics they had,” she said, adding that she borrowed the risk level metrics A-E from the MI Start Map provided by the state.

“I wanted to give (visitors) some kind of a clear-cut answer, instead of giving them something vague. I redid the reopening plan to reflect and tie into those metrics, those risk levels,” Dumas said. “When I first made the plan, we were at a level D for the state, and it looked like we were about to switch right over to a level C. The numbers were really improving, the test positivity rate was really low, and then all of a sudden it just surged again.

“That was kind of a surprise. I did not expect that. Things got real bad again real quick. You hope that we’ll get through this surge and things will start to really improve.”

It’s not only the risk levels that have kept the library from moving forward, however. Dumas explained that staffing levels, allowing staff enough time to be vaccinated, and the sheer number of patrons the library brings in all make reopening right now a little more difficult, she said.

“We’re working so hard behind the scenes to reopen, and I hope the public knows that too. There’s a lot of work going into this process, getting everything set up and in place for (visitors), and getting everybody trained on new procedures,” Dumas said. “We’re really going to expand services come July. We’re going to have seven-day service, more staff, new departments, and we’re going to start a renovation process.

“There’s all these great things coming, but it’s building up to that and making sure everything is ready to hit the ground running when we start expanding all of our services.”

Dumas said she wants to make sure that when the library is ready to reopen, it can stay open. “We can just move on from there and keep everything open,” she said.

Despite the library being closed off to patron visits for the better part of last year, Troy resident and frequent library user Terri Dahmer said that for the most part she’s been satisfied with the digital services replacement.

“I like the digital services,” Dahmer said. “The staff are just so helpful. They’ve gone over and above, and I found it very easy to transition. I go pick up (my books). They bring them right out to your car. Any problems you have, they have an e-chat you can do online.

“I don’t like that we don’t have it open on Fridays. I do wish we would open it back up on Fridays because I think that’s kind of a pain.”

Of course, Dahmer, like many people, would rather be doing things as we used to, in person, but she said that, despite adversity, the library has still been able to meet her needs and the needs of other patrons.

“All of us miss everything in person, but I don’t think that’s just me. I think that’s the whole world, right? Yes, I’d rather be in person. I do like going and physically looking at the books, and touching (them),” she said. “They do a really good job of meeting the needs of the community, even me. I’m always very impressed with the Troy library.”

Dumas said she is an optimist by nature, so she’s hopeful the library will be able to reopen soon. She’d like to see the library advance to phase three, grab-and-go services, but the state will need to be at a risk level C for that change to occur.

“As far as a date, I know what I’d like to see, but I keep watching those numbers closely hoping they’ll start to drop. That’s what’s great is, while I can’t put a date on it, if patrons want to follow along by watching the MI Start Map, and get a feel for where we are according to our reopening metrics … they can watch and see too.

“I do hope to see a sharp improvement once people have been vaccinated; then we’ll see those numbers going in the right direction,” Dumas added. She thanked patrons for the patience through the pandemic.

“At the end of the day it’s about trying to do the safest thing, but I really do appreciate their patience, and I’m as eager as anybody to be able to get people back in the building. We miss them.”

For more information, visit troypl.org.

Advertisement