When the Harrison County Public Library opens its doors to the public June 15, things will look a little different. “We are very happy to welcome you back, but expect some changes,” warned Alisa Burch, director of the library. “For the protection of our community, staff will be wearing masks and we ask the public to wear masks as well. Plexiglas sneeze guards and barriers will be in place on public service desks and you will be asked to stand behind the barriers to interact with staff.”
The library will enforce customer occupancy limits and patrons will be asked to limit visits to 60 minutes or less. “The thought behind Grab and Go service is that folks will come into the library, browse for materials, check out and leave. It is the exact opposite of what we normally do,” explained Burch. “For years we have strived to be a community gathering place where families stay and get comfortable. But for now we are asking the public to be patient and understand that they will not be able to linger.” Children under the age of 16 will be required to stay with their adult caregiver while in the building. Households will be asked to stay together and all patrons must adhere to social distancing and sanitation guidelines.
Some areas of the libraries will be restricted. Meeting rooms are closed. Some chairs have been removed. Some computers will be turned off to enforce social distancing. “Patrons may wish to call ahead for a computer appointment to ensure availability,” added Burch. Computer usage will be limited to 60 minutes unless approved by prior arrangement.
Children’s toys, games and children’s educational computers will not be available.
In-person programming such as storytimes and book clubs will not be offered. “However the summer reading program, Imagine Your Story, is being offered virtually. And each branch is offering some type of Crafts to Go,” said Burch. “The staff has been working hard since our March 17 buildings’ closure to provide wonderful virtual programming. Be sure to check it out on our website, www.hcpl.lib.in.us.”
Book drops have remained open. All returns are being cleaned and quarantined. “Patrons are still advised to use common sense when handling library materials,” said Burch. “Wash your hands before and after handling library books and DVDs, avoid touching your mouth or face and don’t eat while reading library books.”
“We ask that you do not enter the library or check out library materials if you or any member of your household are ill,” said Burch.
All library locations will return to normal service hours June 15. “We will continue curbside pickup of materials and curbside document services for those who may not feel comfortable entering public spaces yet. Call your local library branch for its curbside hours,” added Burch.
Library staff are committed to finding creative ways to offer the best service possible during the COVID pandemic. For more information call 812-738-4110.