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North Adams Library Suspends In-Person Events

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The library will reevaluate whether or not they will resume in-person events at the end of the month.
Library Director Sarah Sanfilippo told the trustees Wednesday that all in-person events and activities in the library have been suspended as they monitor the recent COVID-19 surge.
"We decided to do this for the month of January, and we will reevaluate in a couple of weeks just to keep things on the safe side," she said. "Not everybody but a number of libraries are doing the same thing." 
She then reviewed a recent staff development day and although they were unable to undergo the crisis management portion of the training, they did receive a presentation from Berkshire Harm Reduction.
"We talked about how to recognize an overdose and when you should react and how you should react," Sanfilippo said. "We were shown how to use Narcan and what it does to the body."
She said they were given Narcan, or naloxone, to have on the premises. She said only staff comfortable with administering Narcan and the training opted in.
According to harm reduction experts, drug users are told to never use alone, and if they plan to use, use in a public space.
"So if they overdose they can be found, which I think makes sense," she said. "I think it is important now for people who are in public spaces to be aware and to be able to help."
Chairwoman Tara Jacobs asked if the library ever installed a sharps disposal container as was discussed some years ago.
Sanfilippo said the container was never installed, however, finding needles is not a common occurrence. Granted it has been not been a typical few years in the library, she said.
"Things have been so bizarre since I have been hired. There were maybe one or two needles that were found before we shut down and one after we opened back up," she said. 
Jacobs said she thought this was still an amount that warranted a sharps box.
Sanfilippo said staff are taking a year to record their different duties to create a procedure document 
"Eventually at the end of the year, we will have everything in one document so it will be easier if someone has to cover for someone else or if we bring on someone new," she said. 
Jacobs said she has been in contact with new Mayor Jennifer Macksey and they have a meeting scheduled to go over the library's budget, needs, and the state of the library.
"She signaled a sense of support and that is encouraging," she said. "We are on the same page of how important the library is to the community."
Most notably the trustees want to make sure the city continues to properly fund the library so they can continue to receive state certification. Certification provides state aid and access to CW-MARS.
She said she is also working toward a meeting with the City Council.

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Local Author Reads Book At NAPL

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Local Author Maureen Callahan Smith will read from "Grace Street: A Sister's Memoir of Grief & Gratitude" Wednesday, June 29, 6 pm at the North Adams Public Library.
In "Grace Street: A Sister's Memoir of Grief & Gratitude," licensed social worker Maureen Callahan Smith writes about accompanying her younger sister Kathy through a late-stage cancer diagnosis.
According to a press release, Grace Street is the story of two close sisters, "Irish twins," who are in the midst of their very happy forties when the worst thing happens: a Stage IV cancer diagnosis. The sisters and their family mobilize to face down Kathy's illness together.
"Grace Street: A Sister's Memoir of Grief & Gratitude" is available in paperback wherever you buy your books, and a Kindle ebook is available on Amazon.
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