Letter: Library shouldn’t expand in-person services

Indianapolis is fortunate to have a great library with dedicated staff. But we hear Indianapolis Public Library CEO Jackie Nytes and board President Jose Salinas want to expand services at increased risk to everyone’s safety. It is not safe for the community at this time to introduce more patrons into our buildings when new, more contagious virus strains have arrived.

Even though services are provided in new ways, users still have access to all the materials and electronic resources they are used to. You can call to request any available item and we will have it ready for pickup in 30 minutes or less. If you are not sure what you want, librarians can make recommendations based on your interests. Our telephone reference lines never closed even during the lockdown, and librarians are anxious to answer your questions. The library’s Wi-Fi signal has been expanded so you don’t have to come inside, but if you need to, we have computers available. Though sessions are limited to one hour a day, the staff is still on hand to walk you through tasks from remote terminals or by verbal coaching from a safe distance. Mobile printing and fax service are still available at all open hours.

We do not understand Nytes’ and Salinas’ push to expand services when our services are continuing but in a different way. Why add risk coming into our buildings during a pandemic when staff continues to meet the majority of patron needs under current conditions? It’s a stressful time, but community and staff safety must be the priority.


Michael Torres, president
AFSCME Local 3395-Indy Library Workers

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2 thoughts on “Letter: Library shouldn’t expand in-person services

  1. If the Library would lower the number of people in the buildings and make the hour visit limit in all the branches and not just Central I think the staff would be safer and we would not be inviting super-spreader status.

  2. It’s interesting to note that Work One has limited its services to “by appointment only” when so many have lost jobs to the pandemic, yet the Library is expanding services to accommodate patrons’ leisure reading habits while librarians attempt to do Work One’s jobs for them, from six feet away. Which is truly the more essential need? There is no reason people should be allowed to be in the library all day, putting staff and others at risk, when in the midst of a global pandemic, especially with curbside and other means of service available.

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