Pioneer Library System Reopening Plan


This plan was developed for libraries in the Pioneer Library System to support their local reopening plans and is not intended to be distributed to the public.

Dates and activities are subject to change based on new information. Please check back regularly for updates.


The Governor's current timeline has a phased reopening plan set to begin after the expiration of NY PAUSE on May 15. Phase One includes construction, manufacturing, and select retail (with curbside pickup). Phase Two includes professional services, finance and insurance, retail, administrative support, and real estate/rental leasing. Phase Three includes restaurants, food services, and hotels. And Phase Four includes arts, entertainment, recreation, and education (NYS Phased Reopening). To ensure compliance with this approach, we are operating under the assumption that libraries fall under Phase Four when considering services to the public. While we all deem our libraries to be essential to our communities, they fall into the "low economic impact" and "high risk" category.

There was a motion in support of the plan below on Wednesday, May 13, 2020 made by the Pioneer Library System Board of Trustees.


Considering the sensitive nature of opening 42 libraries across four counties, the Pioneer Library System is proposing a system-wide approach to reopening. The following plan outlines a four-step approach that includes estimated timelines and activities for libraries and PLS to undertake over the next several months. This plan is meant to work in tandem with your library's local reopening plans.

Reopening plans developed by PLS are subject to change based on guidelines from the CDC, the Governor's phased reopening plan, and local health officials. The dates and activities represented below are estimated based on the Governor's phased reopening plan. Should our area suffer an increased infection rate while carrying out this plan, all reopening activities will discontinue and we will follow appropriate closing procedures outlined by the Governor's office.


  1. Health and wellness of library staff and patrons
  2. Collaborative communication on system-related library services
  3. Prepare for future disruptions due to COVID-19 or other pandemic illnesses

Step One: Planning for Local Reopening

Timeline: Now to June 15, 2020

Briefing: While PLS will do everything possible to support libraries, local plans and activities will need to be developed on a library-by-library basis.

Activities for Libraries:
  • Plan staff, patron, and building occupancy starting at ~50% capacity.
  • Plan staff scheduling for the first several weeks of reopening activities.
  • Update policies and procedures relating to pandemic illnesses and disaster scenarios.
  • Update policies and procedures related to staff leave.
  • Acquire Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (face coverings, gloves, etc.) and cleaning supplies (approved EPA list) for staff.
    • Acceptable face coverings for COVID-19 include but are not limited to cloth-based face coverings and disposable masks that cover both the mouth and nose
  • Adjust your budget to accommodate PPE and cleaning supplies.
  • Consolidate the above information into a usable local reopening plan.
  • It is recommended by regional leaders that local plans also include the following:
    • Proper use of face masks/covers
    • Following social distancing guidelines
    • Proper disinfectant practices
    • Proper handwashing guidelines
    • Symptom screening procedures
Activities for Pioneer Library System:
  • Develop a reopening plan in-step with the regional and state-wide recommendations.
  • Prepare PLS staff for consultation, technology, and delivery services for the foreseeable future.
  • Apply for FEMA relief in an attempt to secure short-term PPE for member library and system staff.
  • PLSHQ begins opening office under "administrative" guidelines.
  • PLSHQ begins installing E-Rate network equipment at libraries, by-appointment prior to reopening (IT Department will reach out to libraries to schedule appointments).

Step Two: Bringing Staff Back to Libraries

Timeline: June 15, 2020 to June 29, 2020

Briefing: June 15, 2020, is our current estimate for when libraries will be able to consider bringing staff back to the library. During Step Two, we are recommending that libraries remain closed for two weeks in an effort to adjust buildings appropriately, reacclimate staff to new operating conditions, and prep buildings for modified services to the public.

Activities for Libraries:
  • Educate staff on PPE use, new disinfecting practices, operational changes, and sick leave requirements.
  • Rearrange or remove furniture outlined in local reopening plans to accommodate social distancing (6 ft).
  • Allow ~50% of staff to enter the building for prep work and core operations.
  • Reopen book drops and processing procedures with appropriate safety precautions in place.
  • Stage quarantine and or cleaning area for returned items (current information states the virus can live on hard surfaces for 72 hours).
Activities for Pioneer Library System:
  • Remotely support libraries with reopening activities.
  • PLSHQ continues installing E-Rate network equipment at libraries, by-appointment prior to reopening.
  • Provide a temporary delivery run to clean-up items returned during this step.
  • Discontinue delivery after temporary runs are complete.
  • Adjust current checkout due dates to September 30, 2020.
  • Adjust patron expiration dates to December 30, 2020.

Step Three: Modified Services to the Public

Timeline: June 30, 2020 to July 31, 2020

Briefing: If Steps One and Two go according to plan, libraries will be able to open for modified services to the community during Step Three. It is unknown how long libraries will be operating with modified services. Local libraries will need to evaluate the safety guidelines in their communities and the System will evaluate state-wide measures at keeping communities healthy. During this step, the System will plan on opening local holds (patrons may place holds at their library). System-wide delivery and holds will be determined during Step Four.

Activities for Libraries:
  • Continue procedural practices from Steps One and Two.
  • Implement local modified services identified in Step One.
  • Adjust plans accordingly as new information comes out.
  • Adjust building capacity with health and safety information.
Activities for Pioneer Library System:
  • Schedule temporary delivery runs as deemed necessary.
  • Turn on local holds (patrons can place holds at their home library - no delivery available).

Step Four: Slowly Increase Services to the Public

Timeline: August 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020

Briefing: As infection rates continue to decrease in our area, community interactions will hopefully be deemed safer and libraries will be able to slowly implement additional services. The goal of Step Four is not to return to the same library that existed before this all began, but have a reimagined way of operating that will be prepared for future disruptions to service.

Activities for Libraries:
  • Continue services outlined in Step Three.
  • Implement increased local services as appropriate in your community.
  • Stay alert to the potential of a wave two of COVID-19 and prepare accordingly.
  • Ensure all staff members are up to date on emergency closing procedures and illnesses policies.
  • Prepare for future closings due to COVID-19 or other pandemic illnesses.
Activities for Pioneer Library System:
  • Resume System-wide holds for patrons (once deemed safe).
  • Restart regular delivery (once deemed safe).
  • Prepare for future closings due to COVID-19 or other pandemic illnesses.


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