The library was awarded nearly $8,000 to reimburse purchases made to keep the community of Boerne safe and allow broad use of the library building and technology access.
The library purchased an automated temperature check station for the front of the library, contracted for additional building sanitization, social distancing signage and markers, sneeze shields and a portable hand sanitization station. Funds were provided by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Thirty-seven other libraries across the state have also received grants through this program.
“Our goal, as always, is to ensure the safety of both our patrons and our staff and to implement the steps we felt were needed to ensure we could safely re-open,” said Kelly Skovbjerg, director of the Patrick Heath Public Library. “Now, more than ever, our communities need libraries and we were working hard to step up to the challenge of providing ways for residents to have access to the materials and resources they need for lifelong learning, workforce development and leisure reading while physically distancing. We appreciate both TSLAC and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for their support.”
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission received the funding from IMLS to support libraries in responding to the Coronavirus pandemic. In March, Congress provided the federal agency a total of $50 million in the CARES Act to distribute to states and territories.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the many ways libraries are more essential than ever in meeting local needs to stay connected and informed,” said Mark Smith, TSLAC Director and State Librarian. “We are grateful to the IMLS and the federal government for providing this assistance to libraries across Texas as they support their communities in these challenging times.”
According to Ben Thatcher, Boerne City Manager, “As with communities across the state, the City of Boerne has been impacted by the unexpected expenses associated with mitigating the impact of Coronavirus on our community. As directed by City Council, we have been actively pursuing reimbursement opportunities to pay for the additional safety measures put into place to ensure the safety of residents and employees.”
“As the city department that sees the most public interaction inside a building, the development of safety measures within the library was a key component to ensuring services could resume,” Ben Thatcher continued. “We have been able to re-open sooner than many other libraries across the state and stay open by deploying the measures needed to do so safely.”
The Patrick Heath Public Library continues to operate on a limited basis, but is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. for patron book selection and pickup. Computers are available for one-hour usage and curbside pickup has proven to be a popular additional service for patrons. At this time, study rooms and meeting spaces are not open.
This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Sciences and Texas State Library and Archives Commission (Grant #LS-246561-OLS-20). (2021)
ABOUT THE TEXAS STATE LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES COMMISSION
Formed in 1909, TSLAC is committed to giving Texans access to information and programs to improve their lives and communities. TSLAC provides historical and genealogical search assistance, federal and state government documents, electronic research and library services to all Texans, including those who are unable to read standard print material because of physical or reading disabilities. For more information, visit www.tsl.texas.gov.