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Dear Library Patrons,

If you have been following the news, you know that last week the CDC issued new guidance on mask wearing for vaccinated individuals, and on Monday, Governor Pritzker issued an executive order regarding the same. Both the CDC and the Governor's order made it clear that individual businesses and agencies of local government have the authority to set mask requirements for their own establishments. And, even outside of pandemic times, Illinois law authorizes library boards as units of local government to set behavior policy for their institutions.

After careful deliberation at its meeting last night, the Midlothian Public Library Board of Trustees voted unanimously to continue to require masks of all individuals ages 2 and up who enter the library building for the time being, per the temporary amendments to the library's Patron Behavior Policy.

One reason for this decision is concern for the children of this community. A core component of the library's mission is promotion of children's continued learning during the summer through our summer reading program. As children ages 12-15 have only been eligible for vaccination for a few days, and children under 12 remain ineligible for vaccination, lifting the mask requirement at this time would make the library less safe for the youngest members of our community at exactly the time of year when we most wish to welcome them.

Another reason for this decision is concern for those adults in our community who desire the vaccine but have not yet received it. Library staff are expert searchers of the Internet and can help you find information about vaccination sites, their hours, their contact information, and whether or not they require appointments. If you are undecided about getting the vaccine, library staff can direct you to objective, fact-based websites that explain the vaccines' benefits and risks. If you are an unvaccinated adult looking for assistance in finding information about the vaccine or vaccination sites, we want you to use the library, and we want you to be as safe as possible when you do so.

The library board will re-evaluate the continued need for a mask requirement on a month-to-month basis going forward. The basis for this continued re-evaluation will be Midlothian's vaccination rate and daily new case counts, as well as the availability of the vaccine to children.

Patrons who inform staff that they have a medical condition or disability that prevents them from wearing a mask will be offered reasonable accommodations to receive equivalent services by curbside delivery (including options for computer use, printing, fax, scan, and copy service). Please call the library if you have questions about these services.

The library board meets the 3rd Tuesday of every month at 7:00 PM in-person at the library. Members of the public are welcome to attend and to express their opinions to the board per the library's Public Comment Policy.

I ask the community of Midlothian for their continued cooperation with this well-reasoned mandate of the library board as we all work together to navigate this new phase of the pandemic.

Wishing you safety and wellness,

Jennifer Cottrill, Library Director

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