Why aren’t all the libraries open (when the Governor said they can open at 50% capacity and St. Johns and Nassau County libraries are open already)?

There are governmental, budgetary and safety issues that the library is managing. These take time and resources to coordinate and activate. We have a multi-stage plan and are working to restore service at library buildings as efficiently, effectively and safely as is practical.

  1. When the City of Jacksonville is under a state of emergency city employees that are not deemed essential to handle the emergency---including most library staff---are not cleared to work. During  shorter-term emergencies like hurricanes this makes sense, since library staff are rarely tasked with restoring power or clearing debris from streets. This longer-term emergencies like the COVID 19 pandemic are unusual.
  2. Because any work performed by city or library staff during a declared emergency carries with it additional compensation (in time or dollars), operating any level of library service added expense to the budget. The city and library are trying to preserve funds to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars. 
  3. This new environment where there are ongoing safety concerns requires us to provide in-person service a little differently. For a large system like Jacksonville Public Library that serves a city of 1,000,000 people across 21 locations, that takes time to coordinate and activate.

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