(Posted Nov. 23, 2020)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Mount Sterling Public Library is closing its doors to the public and moving to curbside-only service. The last day for in-person service is Nov. 25. The switch to curbside-only will start on Nov. 30, after the Thanksgiving holiday.
The library board made the decision to close in light of the county’s “red” status on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System. Red means the county has very high exposure and spread of COVID-19. Under this public emergency level, people are to limit their activities as much as possible.
In recent months, the library has been open to the public for browsing, material pickups, computer use and other limited services. With the board’s decision, made last week, the library will return to the curbside-only format it first instituted in the spring following the statewide shutdown.
“We intend to stay that way until the county goes back to orange or yellow,” said Pat Baynes, board president.
The Health Advisory System has four levels, yellow being the lowest followed by orange, red and purple. Franklin County is at purple, meaning the county is experiencing severe exposure and spread of COVID-19 and residents are to leave home only for supplies and services.
While the building won’t be open to the public, Mount Sterling Public Library will continue to fill patrons’ requests for materials. Reserves can be made online or by phone. Materials will be placed in a yellow tote outside the library’s front door; patrons are asked to call ahead to pick up items. Returns can be made using the drop box located near the front entrance.
The library staff will continue to assist patrons with faxing, copying and printing. Anyone who needs these services is asked to call ahead.
“You can still order materials from other libraries in our consortium, too. As of this moment, the cargo is still running,” said Sharon Morgan, interim director, on Nov. 23. “Who knows if that will hold… We’re kind of in limbo like everybody else.”
Morgan noted that patrons can access movies, books and other materials in electronic formats via digital apps available through the library, including Hoopla, Overdrive and RB Digital.
“We saw a big uptick in use of the apps last spring when we were closed,” she said.
The Around Town Book Club will continue to meet via Zoom. The group’s virtual Christmas party is set for 7 p.m. Dec. 3. An ugly sweater contest and book exchange are planned. See the library website for details.
The Mount Sterling Community Museum, located on the library’s lower level, also is closing to the public. As such, the Christmas display planned for December is off, said Steve Chambers, director.
Even with the building shutdown, the library board continues its search for a new director to replace Chris Siscoe who took up the director reins at Hurt-Battelle Memorial Library in West Jefferson on Nov. 1. Baynes said interviews are underway, and the board hopes to choose a new director by the end of the year.
Mount Sterling Public Library is located at 60 W. Columbus St. Curbside service will be available during the library’s regular hours: Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Wednesday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The library is closed on Sunday.
For more information, call (740) 869-2430 or visit the library’s social media pages and www.mtsterlingpubliclibrary.org.