How to manage your library in times of crisis?

Posted on November 16 2020

Reading time: 5 minutes

Like restaurants, retail stores and many businesses, municipal and school libraries have had to quickly adapt to online services. Online reservations and contactless pick-ups become their main allies so they could continue to serve citizens during the pandemic. 

Library inventory management software - COVID crisis

In these unusual times, it’s even more important to be entertained and mind free.  This is why it’s important to guarantee citizens access to the contents of municipal libraries, while also guaranteeing a safe environment for employees. 

Guide to Sanitary Measures for Libraries

The “Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité au travail” (CNESST) and the “Institut national de santé publique du Québec” (INSPQ) have prepared documents with specific recommendations on the methods to be followed to limit the risks of contagion in libraries

Here you will find a short guide to the most recommended sanitary measures during the complete and partial closures of municipal and school libraries : 

  • Establish a simple and easy to use online communications and reservation system for citizens. 
  • Prefer contactless pick-ups or home deliveries. 
  • Establish a quarantine time management system for your books and other documents available for contactless lending.
  • Change the loan period for books and documents in order to have a good turnover rate and allow everyone allow everyone to have access to a varied selection at all times.

5 reasons to use inventory control software for your library 

1. Automatic update of document availability

To ease management of contactless equipment loans, citizens must first make an online reservation. It’s very important to keep the inventory up to date. Inventory control software, in addition to your library management software, is the best solution to keep an eye on your inventory and guarantee its proper management. The software automatically updates the availability of documents accessible for contactless loan.

Book availability management software

2. Book your documents remotely

By offering your users the possibility to book their documents remotely, you avoid any direct contact with them. They will be very reassured to have access to the same selection of books as usual in the comfort of their home. It will also provide your employees a safe work environment.

Up to date Online Booking catalog for Library

3. Don’t worry about the quarantine time.

Several researches indicate that Covid-19 can be transmitted indirectly through some materials. For this reason, it’s recommended to put each document returned by citizens to the library directly in quarantine. 

Beware! The duration of infectivity of the virus is not the same on all types of materials. It is strongly recommended to put the books in a single closed room for quarantine. The duration of quarantine for a book made of paper or rigid cardboard is 24 hours. For a laminated book, a quarantine of 72 hours is suggested.

However, it’s also possible to disinfect plastic-coated books using disinfectant wipes and continue quarantine for only 24 hours. Using inventory software will simplify your task by managing your inventory so that the books are automatically made available when their quarantine time is over and they are ready for the next reservation. 

Documents in quarantine time COVID

4. Make sure that citizens who come to the library have no symptoms of Covid-19

If you have symptoms of Covid-19, don’t go to your library. When a citizen makes an online reservation through inventory control software, they virtually sign a consent form indicating that they will not attend the library if they show symptoms of Covid-19. You have nothing to worry about. It’s very simple and effective. 

5. Receive email confirmation when your documents are ready to collect.

Inventory software will also send the email confirmation when your documents are ready to be collected. You will also find in the email detailed instructions on the steps to follow during non-contact pickups. Isn’t that great?

Pick-up notification to retrieve books in library

Interested in inventory software? You can start a free 15-day trial to discover the benefits of Hector. To discuss a personalized service, please make an appointment through our contact form!

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For more information on the procedures and recommendations to be followed in libraries, you can consult the COVID-19 Relaunch Guidance for Librairies. In the meantime, here are some recommended health measures to follow :

  • Wearing the face cover indoors is mandatory. It’s possible to download the posters to put at the entrance of your library directly on the Quebec Government website.
  • Make sure that physical distance is respected. 
  • Check the ventilation and airing systems. 
  • Regularly clean your workstations and other frequently used surfaces (computers, mouse, keyboard, telephone, pencils, door handles, etc.).
  • If teleworking is not possible, make sure that transparent physical barriers are installed where reception counters are located. 
  • Wash your hands regularly, especially employees who handle books, carts and other materials.