GPL will actually be reopening more than 16 months late

To the Editor:

Is the Guilderland Public Library finally going to reopen on Sept. 27, more than 10 months ahead of schedule, as the library director reported to you in your article last week [“Fish, fire, and books: Expanded, updated library set to open,” The Altamont Enterprise, Sept. 14, 2021]?

No. In reality, the library will actually be reopening more than 16 months late, or 474 days behind the schedule that it could have, and should have, reopened during the first week of June 2020 when New York State authorized reopening libraries for public use.

For those who might not be aware, the Colonie Town Library building reopened to the public during the first week of June last year 2020, and has been continuously open to the public ever since then. Most of our neighboring libraries have also been open to the public since last summer 2020. The Guilderland library, however, never reopened last summer 2020 even though there was no construction going on there at that time.

I should also point out that, on Aug. 31, 2020, more than a year ago, the library director put forth a recommendation that the library be closed to the public for a year during the construction of the new addition [“Guilderland library to reopen in the midst of construction,” The Altamont Enterprise, Sept. 8, 2020].

Since a promise had been previously made (before the $8,000,000 bond had been approved by the voters) to keep the library open during the new construction, the Guilderland Library Board unanimously rejected this recommendation.

Yet, the promise to the voters to remain open was thrown under the bus [“Trustees listen to Guilderland library staff concerns and delay public browsing,” The Altamont Enterprise, Dec. 7, 2020]. And not only has the library been closed for a year since August 31, 2020, but also an additional 26 days.

You will recall that for the past several weeks the Guilderland library has kept us fully informed of their new enhancements including a 540-gallon fish tank, a gas fireplace, an antique fireplace mantle, an antique door, and a new café.

But, I have seen nothing in the media regarding improvements in air circulation in the building, or the need for a mandatory vaccination program for staff who do not have medical or religious exemptions. I wonder whether there is a policy that requires those who have not been vaccinated to be tested weekly?

Given the recent disturbing news regarding the July Fourth holiday viral outbreak of the Delta variant in Provincetown, Massachusetts [The Altamont Enterprise, Aug. 2, 2021], the emphasis now should be on improved air circulation in the building (evidence is that something as normal and inexpensive as high floor fans can significantly reduce the viral spread), as opposed to a 540-gallon fish tank.

Every effort should also be made to assure that all staff are vaccinated, or else tested weekly. Library staff must strictly enforce the mask and social-distancing rules, just as they have done at the Colonie Library for the past 16 months.

In closing, I am so, so pleased that our Guilderland library will finally be open after being closed to the public for the past 474 days.

Dan Alexander


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