Kathy Konecny

Joyner-Green Valley Library branch manager Kathy Konecny stands next to piles of books waiting for check-in. 

There's no shortage of work for the Joyner-Green Valley Library staff after opening Monday with book requests waiting to be pulled, check-ins backlogged and a steady flow of patrons returning.

Kathy Konecny, Green Valley's branch manager, said staff returned to about two months of returned books waiting for check-in as well as holds placed during the closure.

Konecny said Tuesday there were still 560 titles on the pull list. In the branch's meeting room, she stood next to a table with more than 150 books — the returns that had come in by 10:30 a.m. that day. And there wasn't any sign of slowing.

When staff returned to work, she said there were 12 tables and 12 handcarts piled with books waiting for them, which they began checking in last week.

"Literally, this whole room was just filled," Konecny said. "We made a lot of progress, but it's still going to take time to get it all caught up."

She said the library had 115 people show up out front early on with questions and pick-ups and another 46 people around back for computer and copier services.

Some visitors were agitated at not having their books available, and others were grateful to be able to pick up stuff they've had on hold during the closure.

She said people are looking at about the first week of June for pick-up orders placed this week, but she hopes that will speed up as staff catches up with the backlog.

"If you talk to me next week, I'll probably have a totally different answer," she said.

Konecny said the limited reopening is a work in progress and something the library system has never had to contend with.

"With any new process, there are kinks," she said. "People are gradually learning that it's a partial service. So, that's part of the communication that we're trying to send out."

Konecny said library staff is looking forward to returning to normal and the public can browse the shelves again. But they aren't there yet. 

The front doors remain closed to the public, and outside, a table waits for people to pick up book orders. Staff directs customers returning books to the outdoor chutes. Customers can come in the back door for computer and copying services.

As people line up, the staff takes their name and relay it to another member inside who then goes to check if the books are ready.

Even though the public isn't browsing inside, Konecny said it requires more staff to meet safety demands.

"It is very interesting," she said. "It's not the same level of work. It's shifted quite a bit. I'm sure that will change over time, but right now, it takes more staff to run each thing out to customers."

It's not just the front remaining busy. Around back, there's a separate entrance for computer and copier services.

Like other county buildings, the library requires visitors to have masks on and a temperature reading before entering. If someone's temperature is more than 100.4 degrees, they can't enter the building.

Konecny said the county reported there wasn't a single 100.4-degree temperature taken countywide during Monday's reopening.

With social distancing, the library can have an occupancy of 19, with nine computers available for 30-minute sessions.

Despite the extra work and constantly changing measures, Konecny remained optimistic about being back at work.

"Myself and staff here are just very pleased to be back and happy to be serving our community again," she said. "All of us really look forward to the time that we can provide that full service we were able to in the past."

Jorge Encinas | 520-547-9732