Grafton Public Library

COVID-19 FAQ

Thank you all for your continued patronage, patience and understanding as we continue to navigate this pandemic. Thanks also for sharing your concerns and frustrations.

We have been in constant communication with the MA Library System, MA Board of Library Commissioners, MA Library Association, the C/W MARS library network, Central MA Library Advocates, the Town Administration, the Grafton Board of Health, and the Board of Library Trustees other libraries in the Blackstone Valley, and other small libraries regarding Best Practices around COVID-19 over these last six months. The Board of Library Trustees has taken a conservative approach to reopening due to the limits of our physical location, with support from Town Administration.

Why isn’t the Library open yet?
The Library is in Phase 1 Step 2. Please note “authorized to reopen” does not mean we can open — we cannot until we are able to comply with all mandatory regulations.

Limits which prevent us from moving ahead to Phase 2, mostly due to inability to comply with local or state regulations. We are struggling with:

  • Lack of space for social distancing due to building layout;
  • Lack of space for staff or public to walk around and browse, due to the hundreds of items in quarantine; spread out all over the building;
  • Inadequate fresh air flow or HVAC in the stack areas where patrons would browse;
  • Low staffing due to governor mandate for limited number of people on site and staggered schedules;
  • Low staffing due to their own health compromises and childcare needs;
  • Inadequate PPE to sanitize all materials, necessitating item quarantines;
  • No daily custodial service to clean and disinfect the building for the staff, let alone for the public, at regular intervals per governor’s directive;
  • Information shared from other libraries in United States regarding patron behavior around following staff and state and local directives to socially distance and wear a mask;
  • Information shared from libraries that opened, and then had to close again because someone – staff or public – worked or visited while sick;
  • Information from my staff regarding their personal interactions with Grafton residents in their day to day business – multiple library staff have been harassed, ridiculed, and verbally assaulted by other Grafton residents at Grafton places of business for wearing their masks in public to lower the risk of contracting a deadly disease and passing it on to their coworkers, friends and families;
  • Grafton’s infection status increasing to green status in the last week of September 2020, with 7 new cases of Coronavirus over the last 2 weeks – visit the COVID-19 weekly dashboard for the most recent information. Upton and Sutton are the only surrounding communities in grey; Millbury, Northbridge are green, while Shrewsbury, Northborough, Uxbridge and Westborough are yellow and Worcester is red.

But other libraries are open – why?
We cannot speak to the particulars of the handful of libraries in the state that are open fully — 30 MA libraries out 354. Grafton remains in the majority with 192 libraries out of 354 offering limited services, such as curbside. Your Grafton card is accepted at all of them, and we don’t take it personally if use another, or multiple, local libraries. A list libraries self-reporting their services is online at:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/11TuGUtfOL9RuR4hS5QAa7zDdiNP5yTGVsG6l830rYI8/edit#gid=0

Why are we building a $16.6 million expanded library if we can do it all virtually?
We can’t do it all virtually. We have been out of space to house collections and offer programs for over thirty years. Our current closure and remote and curbside services are inadequate and temporary responses to a global pandemic that won’t last forever.

What Library services are available?
We are able to provide all core, traditional library services –collections, programs, reference — remotely by email or phone and digitally via Internet, and have only suspended in person browsing and computer use, along with “extra” services such as notarizing, proctoring, and passport services, we are remaining closed to the public at this time.

How do I get a Library card?
Please register online for a Library card! All cards are digital only until you show proof of identity/residency (via email or by Zoom appointment). We can leave your new card in an envelope on the Curbside Pickup shelf.

Why doesn’t my Library card work?
Library cards are set to expire every two years so we can make sure your account information is accurate! Please call 508-839-4649, Mon-Sat, between 10am-4pm, to renew your card over the phone.

If the card is NOT expired and doesn’t work, we can reset your PIN/Password. Try the last 4 digits of your phone number on file, first. Please call 508-839-4649, Mon-Sat, between 10am-4pm, to reset your PIN/password.

Are you accepting returns?
Yes, the Book Drop is available 24/7 and emptied daily Mon-Sat. Grafton items may be returned at any C/W MARS library.

What if my item is too large or too fragile for the book drop?
Please call 508-839-4649, Mon-Sat, between 10am-4pm, and press 1 to schedule return of the oversized or fragile item. We will wheel out a bin for you to place the item in.

Why do I owe fines?
The Board of Trustees has voted to waive fines for the duration of the Pandemic. We are checking items in on Amnesty Mode. Please call 508-839-4649, Mon-Sat, between 10am-4pm, to have fines removed from your account. In lieu of fines, please consider a donation to the Library Gift Account, Friends of the Grafton Library, Grafton Public Library Capital Campaign, or the Grafton Food Bank. We are still charging for lost materials. No patron’s account should be blocked from digital access due to fines or overdue items.

Why do I have lost items?
Late notices went out, beginning September 30, for all past due library materials from March-September. Please return items by the due date–the book drop is available 24/7–and the lost book fee will disappear from your account and the account will be unblocked. Please don’t panic if items remain on your library account. We are quarantining for 7 days so there may be a delay in checking items in.

We will allow curbside pickup once with lost item status, but lost items must be returned or paid for before your next round of holds pickup.

The Board of Library Trustees voted to waive fines (but not fees) for overdue materials through the end of the Pandemic. Instead, please donate to the Grafton Food Bank, the Library Gift Account (via check to PO Box 387, Grafton MA 01519, the Friends of the Library, or the Capital Campaign (via UniBank).

I don’t have a computer, how do I request items?
Please call 508-839-4649, Mon-Sat, between 10am-4pm, to place a materials request. Or, email graftonlibrary.ma@gmail.com or reach out through Facebook messenger. You can ask for a specific title or give us a range of interests and age, and we will pull together a bag of books to delight and entertain you.

I don’t have a computer, how do access digital content?
If you have an ereader, tablet or phone, you may be able to access internet via WiFi to access ebooks, emagazines, eaudio, evideo, and library databases.

What is the Library WiFi password?
Join the Library Guest network from the parking lot; the password is Libr@ry! To access, you must agree to the Internet Use Policy.

How do I browse new materials?
In lieu of browsing, we have a weekly listing of new materials with links to request at Wowbrary. Each item has a photo of the cover and a short description. When you click the link, you get the full record with more information including reviews and readalikes, in many cases. From there, you can opt to request the item, or go back and pick something else, just like picking up a book, looking it over and putting it down in a bookstore or library.

You can also get a list of new items for Grafton, with links to request, from our C/W MARS network:
New items owned by Grafton
Most requested items

Why does it take so long to get items via delivery?
We used to be able to get items within 3-5 days, and it’s taking 3 times as long, because all libraries in the C/W MARS network are quarantining items anywhere from 2-7 days, so yes, wait times are longer than usual as an item may be quarantined for 7 days, then go through delivery, then quarantine for another 7 days. The 7-day quarantine is based on research results from project REALM. We are re-evaluating the length of quarantine with each new study; again, the Board of Library Trustees has recommended a conservative approach.

Why do you need 48 hours notice to bag my items?
Staff on site are not able to monitor email constantly during their shift due to the onsite duties. We are working in staggered shifts, some remotely, and staff on site are not monitoring email to schedule right away, so we need 48 hours notice to schedule your curbside pickup. For example, if a patron responds by email at 11pm with a pick up request for 10am the next day, the onsite staff will be focused on putting out the already scheduled bags and completing morning procedures to see that email message. If you do need items urgently, and materials are on site, please call 508-839-4649, Mon-Sat, between 10am-4pm, and we will make our best effort to get the items out same day.

When can I pick up my items?
Please call 508-839-4649, Mon-Sat, between 10am-4pm to select your preferred pickup day. No-contact curbside pickups are scheduled daily Mon-Sat from 10am-4pm. We offer one evening pickup until 8pm each week. We will make two attempts to contact the borrower before suspending the hold and returning the requested item. Items are checked out in advance and placed in a brown paper bag, then shelved alphabetically by last name. Items not picked up will be rescheduled a second time.