New manager guiding Chandler libraries in pandemic The Chandler Arizonan

New manager guiding Chandler libraries in pandemic

New manager guiding Chandler libraries in pandemic


Chandler has a new leader at the helm of the city’s public library system.

Fresh from Canada, Rachelle Kuzyk started with the city May 20.

Kuzyk since 2011 had been library services manager in Wetaskiwin, Alberta, and for the last year also took on the job as that Canadian city’s community services chief.

According to a release, she revitalized that city’s library system and “implemented numerous innovative programs and was instrumental in the creation of a new outdoor library space and playground for the community.”

One of those programs was the introduction of two therapy dogs, Shih Tzu-Yorkies, in 2013 to be involved in the library’s programming for children and seniors.

“It’s proven that children who are hesitant readers or … are intimidated and too shy to read to adults or other people, will read to animals and it helps to improve their literacy skills,” Kuzyk told the local newspaper at the time. “It’s also proven to benefit the elderly.”

“We have teens, an elusive group when it comes to library use, but they come in and ask to see the puppies and play with them or walk them,” she added. “It’s bringing people together.”

Earlier in her 23-year career, Kuzyk worked in larger library systems, including Calgary’s, according to a Chandler spokesman.

“Public libraries impact communities in many beneficial ways, providing much needed services and value to taxpayers,” said Kuzyk, who is guiding Chandler’s libraries into the second phase of the city’s reopening plan.

Certified in emergency incident command systems, she was one of two emergency management directors as Wetaskiwin entered the early stages of the pandemic.

“The pandemic has impacted every community, every local government and every public library,” she said. “While most people have utilized the library’s online services during this period, there are others who depend on our in-person services.”

All four library branches are open 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday–Wednesday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Thrusday and Friday.

But to control virus spread, services have been modified “to be as contactless as possible,” according to the library’s website. Furniture has been arranged to promote social distancing and staff will be wearing gloves and face coverings “where appropriate,” according to the site.

Plexi-shields have been installed at service desks and all programs have been canceled until at least August.

The library also is encouraging patrons to consider gloves and face masks and is urging them to wash their hands.

Unlike other libraries, which have adopted a “grab and go” model, Chandler’s libraries are allowing browsing shelves – although baskets are not permitted.

Library officials also are limiting computer use to an hour a day and children’s computers are not available. No headphones, markers, external drives or charging cables are available to check out.

Copying, faxing and scanning are self-serve and patrons who need help will have to rely on a staffer who will be standing six feet away.

No meeting rooms are open and there are no toys in the children’s section.

People who have questions can call 480-782-2800.

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