The Paige Memorial Library is Covid cautious, but open full hours, offering storytime outdoors and in. We still offer curbside service, but you may come in to browse wearing a mask and using hand sanitizer. We are concerned for children and those who have not yet been vaccinated. Toys are not available at this time. We care about our patrons and want everyone to be safe.

Town of Hardwick Website 


2020 Paige Memorial Library Reopening Plan


Due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus, which resulted in a worldwide pandemic, the Paige Memorial Library officially closed to the public on March 13, 2020.  The Hardwick Select Board made the decision to furlough the two staff members (Director and Library Assistant) on 27 March 2020 citing health and safety concerns.

The Paige Library is now open with Covid cautious practices. We require that masks be worn, hand sanitizer be used, and social distancing be practiced. (Summer 2021)

The Paige Memorial Library has developed the following plan to resume in-person services. This plan should be considered fluid as we follow recommendations from the government, Emergency Management Team, specialists in the library field, and the Hardwick Select Board.


We have determined several phases that will gradually increase service offerings given social distancing guidelines. These phases allow us to increase services when appropriate, and also to take a step back if necessary. There are no time frames to these phases on purpose, because each phase will expand when it is safe to do so.  The phases are as follows:

Reopening Massachusetts LibrariesReopening Massachusetts
Library  Phase 1, Part 1: Planning to resume in person serviceMA Govt.  Phase 1: Start: Limited industries resume operations with severe restrictions.
Library Phase 1, Part 2: Initiate services that emphasize limited in-person contactMA Govt. Phase 1: Start: Limited industries resume operations with severe restrictions.
Phase 1 – May 25 for curbside pickup and delivery only
Library Phase 2: Soft openings and limited servicesMA Govt. Phase 2 Cautious: Additional industries resume operations with restrictions and capacity limits
Phase 2 – browsing inside the Library with restrictions
Library Phase 3: Expanded service and adaptation to the current health climateMA Govt.  Phase 3 Vigilant: Additional industries resume operations with guidance.
Library Phase 4: Near full resuming of servicesMA Govt. Phase 4 New Normal: Development of vaccine and/or therapy enables resumption of “new normal.”

Phase Details:

Phase 1, Part 1Planning and Preparation

The Director and the Library Assistant will begin working in the library, as it technically remains closed to the public.  Library Staff will be paid to attend any specialized safety training opportunities provided by the Town of Hardwick Select Board in regard to managing a public space during this pandemic. A plastic partition shall be placed at the circulation desk. Items such as hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes and spray will be available throughout the library.  The Town of Hardwick shall provide the staff of the Paige Memorial Library with all necessary PPE (Personal Protective Equipment- gloves and face masks) needed to safely perform their duties as town employees. The staff will spend time preparing the collection for circulation and will make sure that the library is clean and sanitized.  They will conduct other tasks as needed to prepare for reopening- such as making social distancing signs for placement throughout the library, and placing six foot social distancing floor markings where it is deemed most appropriate. 

Phase 1, Part 2: Initiate Services

“Curb-side” services will be implemented.  Inside the building will continue to remain closed to the public. At this point there will be no interlibrary loans and no in-person programs or meetings.  Patrons can request books and materials by phone or e-mail and make arrangements with a Librarian for curbside pick up by appointment. For curbside lending, patrons will be encouraged to use the online catalog to explore the holdings of the library and to make choices from that list.  Librarians will continue to provide ‘Reader’s Advisory’ services and upon request, will choose a variety of materials based on a specific theme to accommodate patron needs. The materials will be placed inside a securely closed plastic bag with the initials of the patron clearly visible on the bag- our best attempts will be made to maintain patron privacy during this exchange.  Bags will be placed on the outside steps and brought back inside if they remain outside for over an hour (at which point, another appointment will need to be arranged for pick up).  The Book Return drop box will be open for patrons to return library materials.  Books from the drop box will be moved inside to a designated ‘quarantine area’ for 7 to 14 days before being wiped down and returned to circulation.

Phase 2Soft Opening and Limited Service

The Library will initiate a ‘soft opening’ to the public.  A limited number of people not exhibiting any Covid-19 symptoms will be allowed to enter the library on a staff-supervised, rotating basis. Based on health and safety concerns regarding the spread of the Coronavirus, for the time being we will not be offering services and programming to children under the age of 5 as there is no guarantee that they can be expected to follow social distancing protocols such as maintaining a 6 foot distance and wearing a mask. We also discourage people who fall into the CDC’s high risk populations ( ““-precautions/index.html) from visiting the library at this time.

The Director shall identify a specific total number of people (including staff, volunteers and contractors), who will be allowed inside the building at once and coordinate with the Board of Trustees if there are any recommended changes to the number of hours open to the public (normally 19 hours per week). All persons that enter the building must wear a facemask, otherwise they will not be allowed inside.  Best attempts will be made to maintain a one-way ‘flow’ of traffic (in through the front door, out through the back door) and all patrons will be expected to adhere to social distancing requirements.  The Director has the authority to temporarily bar anyone who does not properly adhere to these guidelines. Every reasonable attempt will be made by library staff to safely accommodate the special needs of handicapped patrons.  Computer use will not be available at this point. 

Requests for use of the photocopier machine will be taken into consideration and specific accommodations will be implemented at the discretion of the Director on a case-by-case basis depending on patron needs and ability to maintain safety guidelines.

Library Restrooms will not be available to the public during this phase of operations.

As recommended by MA Government officials, for the specific purpose of contact tracing, a logbook of names and telephone numbers of only the patrons entering the building who are willing to share this information will be prepared by library staff. When it is deemed safe to do so, this logbook will be destroyed in its entirety.

Phase 3: Expanded Service

If at this time it is deemed practical by both the Director and the Board of Trustees, the library will make a sincere attempt to expand normal services while maintaining established safety protocols.  This will include limited computer usage, and perhaps a designated outdoor space where lawn chairs can be made available so that people can visit outdoors while keeping a reasonable distance.  This space (used responsibly) can also be used for people who wish to access our wifi with their laptops.  If our normal hours of operation are reduced during the previous above phases, every reasonable attempt will be made to bring our hours back to normal. (n=19).  At the discretion of the Director, some limited programming may be able to resume if it can be done safely outdoors.  Patrons will be allowed to use the library restroom if absolutely needed.

Phase 4Near Full Resuming of Services

When it is officially deemed safe to reopen by MA Government officials, the MBLC, MLA, Board of Trustees, and the Hardwick Select Board, the library will proceed with caution to resume normal operations to the best of our abilities.  This will take place only when the risk of infection is officially considered to be very low and there is full confidence that the health and safety needs and requirements of both staff and patrons can be adequately adhered to.  There will also be the understanding that we may decide to scale back to previous phases if considered necessary.


This plan will be considered ‘fluid’ and if need be, will be updated as recommendations change.  Patrons are expected to follow these established safety guidelines to ensure the safety of staff and other patrons.  If patrons are unable to follow these guidelines, the Director will ask the patron to leave immediately.  Repeated violations may result in the suspension of library privileges. 

In the event of decreased staffing levels, a local outbreak, a sick staff member or library patrons, or otherwise directed by the local Board of Health, the Library may be forced to close for a period of time, reduce operating hours, and/or limit services. All closings will be communicated to the public as quickly as possible.  These guidelines have been established in accordance with standards provided by both the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) as well as the Massachusetts Library System (MLS) and have been finalized by the Paige Memorial Library Board of Trustees and the Town of Hardwick Select Board.

Submitted May 2020