The Monroe County Public Library will reopen Monday with limited in-building services. After being closed for about six months due to the coronavirus, people can browse the shelves for books once again.
Patrons can now use computers, scanners, fax machines, copiers and printers in the building. They can choose books and pick up holds. Seating has been removed to encourage shorter visit times.
“The big thing that is important for people to understand is that the social component of what people know and love about libraries is really what will be missing,” said Mandy Hussey, communications and marketing manager of the Monroe County Public Library.
The first hour of each day will be reserved for high-risk customers because that's when the library is the cleanest, Hussey said.
“Libraries are about being inclusive and we recognize that there is a significant portion of the population that we’d like to have come into the library that have different needs,” she said.
All customers are asked to observe social distancing and masks will be required. Disposable masks are available for people who don’t have one. There will also be a soft limit of one hour for indoor browsing, Hussey said.
Throughout the past six months, the library has implemented new ways to operate during COVID-19. Materials are now quarantined for four days once they’ve been returned.
Drive-up pickup will replace curbside pickup Monday. Curbside pickup was implemented at the beginning of the pandemic to allow people to check out books online, but it still required people to go inside the library. There is plexiglass put in place at the drive-up window and masks will be required for customers. Customers may also walk or bike to the drive-up window, Hussey said.
People may also get a library card online, Hussey said. This gives people access to Kanopy, Hoopla and other online streaming platforms.
“There’s all sorts of things they can do that are very fun and useful with their library card without even coming into the building,” Hussey said.
The library got rid of late fees in March. Hussey said this is because fines can be a barrier for some people and the library wants to be more inclusive.
Hussey said the primary purpose of being inside of the library right now should be to pick up books, browse the library materials and technology use.