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Govt Libraries Are Now Open in Maharashtra, But Private Libraries Will Wait Until Oct 19


Govt Libraries Are Now Open in Maharashtra, But Private Libraries Will Wait Until Oct 19
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Several government libraries in Maharashtra commemorated the birth anniversary of former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam as part of the ‘Vaachan Prerna Din’ events that are conducted every year. However, this year’s event was undertaken without an audience which is a first. 

The event was celebrated across government libraries a day after the new standard operating procedures (SOPs) were issued by the State Government which allowed the reopening of libraries. State Higher and Technical Education Minister, Uday Samant was present for the reopening and a book exhibition conducted at State Central Library in Fort. 

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Though government libraries have been open and the Directorate of Libraries has new SOPs for reopening libraries, some private libraries in Mumbai are waiting until October 19 to reopen. President of the Asiatic Society Library, Vispi Balaporia said - “We don’t want to rush into it. Sanitisation and cleanliness are our main concern, and we feel it is best to start gradually. Our staff will also face difficulty in travelling, while the danger posed by COVID-19 is still present.”

As per the new SOPs, readers are asked to return or borrow books only once in five days while each returned book will be kept in a “book isolation box” for two days. 

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Further, the management team at the library will have to inform the local administration or the district library officer if there is an increase in coronavirus cases after the reopening. In this scenario, the library will be shut for some days. Libraries have also been asked to facilitate book requests via email or WhatsApp to avoid congestion at the library.

Other standard protocols like maintaining at least a metre of distance between visitors and staffers, providing soap, hand sanitizers or hand washing stations at the library are also to be followed.

A separate book containing the list of all visitors is to be created, though we don’t see why this can’t be done online. Further, all staff will be frequently monitored using thermal scanners, oximeters, and infrared thermometers to detect symptoms if available. 

The staff have also been informed to sanitize frequently touched surfaces including elevator buttons, handrails, tables, chairs, and so on. It is mandatory for all visitors and staff to wear a mask within the library at all times. 

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