On Monday, June
8, Kansas moved into Phase 3 of the Governor’s
Statewide Reopening Plan. Phase 3
generally allows for less restrictions on gatherings, individuals, and
employers, as follows:
- Mass gatherings of more than 45 individuals are
not recommended. Mass gatherings are defined as instances in which individuals
are in one location and are unable to maintain 6 feet of distance between
individuals (not including individuals who reside together) with only
infrequent or incidental moments of closer proximity.
- Local governments retain authority to impose
equal or more stringent restrictions during this phase.
- Any federal restrictions imposed and still in
effect must be followed.
- Individuals may choose to wear cloth masks in
public settings as appropriate.
- Employers may begin reducing telework and start
bringing employees back to work in an office setting while maintaining 6 feet
of distance between employee workstations.
- All businesses can safely open and should maintain
at least 6 feet of distance between consumers (individuals or groups) and follow
fundamental cleaning and public health practices as designated by KDHE.
The events of
the last six months have been startling both professionally and personally, and
continue daily to take my breath away. I
have been unsure how to respond across a large platform but I have had many
interpersonal conversations with Kansas residents and with librarians across
the state and nation. In those
conversations I have consistently encouraged a strong line of communication
between the library, its stakeholders, and the community. Public libraries in Kansas are under local
control, which I strongly support, and believe that each library should try its
best to operate in a way that contributes to the betterment of the community
while maintaining the professional standards and ethics of librarianship.
And it isn’t
easy – as a public library director, I have been in disputes with the community
I served, where a portion of the community very vocally disagrees and argues publically
against the decisions and actions of library.
I believe that such situations make you a better librarian; it forces
you to consider your decisions with as much unbiased scrutiny as you can muster
and be certain you are making the best decision possible for the organization
and the community. It can be very
uncomfortable but that is why I believe that being a librarian is much more
than a job, it is a calling to serve.
Library is like every other library out there right now – we are trying to find
the best way to serve the public and protect our employees; we are trying to
find the best way to clearly inform without spreading speculation or adding to
the overwhelming noise; we are trying to find the best way to be of assistance
and move forward without a confident understanding of where we are all
other library out there, we are uncertain about the future and anxious about
our budget over the next several years; but also, like every other library out
there, we are determined to help our community as best we can. We are a little unsure of the process, and
the plan keeps changing, but we are certain we can help move our communities
-- Eric Norris