(Posted Sept. 30, 2020)
Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
“We miss having our patrons in here. It feels like it’s going to be a grand opening on Monday,” said Bryan Howard, director of London Public Library.
Closed since March 14 due to the pandemic, the library is set to reopen to the public on Oct. 5. Patrons must book an appointment to enter the building at www.mylondonlibrary.org or by calling (740) 852-9543.
Hours are: Monday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Tuesday, 2-8 p.m.; Wednesday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Thursday, 2-8 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
The appointments are one way the library is working to ensure that adequate social distancing is possible. The staff also has moved furniture to make more room and placed distancing markings on the floor. Gatherings are not permitted inside the building, and the meeting room is closed.
Also for safety, the self-checkout station is closed, acrylic barriers have been installed at the front desk, and patrons are required to wear masks.
“We are reopening for browsing and limited computer use. We’re asking our patrons to limit their visits to as short as possible,” Howard said.
Appointments are required for computer use and times are limited to one hour. Users can bring one guest with them if they need assistance with the computer.
Even though the library will be open, patrons must continue to return materials in the book drop located on the Union Street side of the building. Materials should not be returned inside the building. The library has to quarantine all materials for one week before returning them to circulation.
The library will continue to offer curbside pickup, just as they have throughout the time the building was closed.
As for the timing of the reopening, Howard said library leaders considered several factors–one being that the Ohio Public Health Advisory System, which gauges severity of COVID-19 exposure and spread, has placed Madison County on the lowest level.
Additionally, before opening, the library wanted to have all of its safety measures in place and solidify its procedure for quarantining materials. Both are ready to go.
“Everything that is brought back to us has to be quarantined for a week which was causing storage issues for us, but we got it all figured out,” Howard said.
When asked what it has been like to operate the library during the pandemic, Howard said, “Everything is just about adjusting on the fly.”
The library instituted curbside pickup in June. Patrons can call in or go online to reserve materials then pick them up outside the library.
“Our curbside pickup has been really successful. It might be here to stay permanently, even after all of this is over. It’s convenient, and we want patrons to have that option,” Howard said.
He also praised his staff’s solutions for programming and services. For example, Mary Ann Wood, youth services coordinator, found a way to keep the Summer Reading Program alive by taking it online. She scheduled virtual speakers, performers and storytimes, and arranged for participants to pick up their prizes curbside at the program’s conclusion.
“It’s shown me how creative a staff we have here at the library. I can’t say enough about them and all they have done,” Howard said.