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Taking Appointments

Warren Library readies for its phased reopening

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry Ruby Wiles of Warren leaves Warren Public Library with a bag of books on Thursday. For now, materials may only be checked out through scheduled, contactless pickup. That will begin to change next week as the library enters a period of phased reopening.

Albert Einstein didn’t take pandemics into account when he uttered a quote about libraries.

“The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library,” he said.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, a person could walk up to Warren Public Library at any time, but not get in. That has changed a little in the past few weeks. Library personnel have opened up the foyer as a pick-up area.

Starting next week, however, patrons will be able to schedule time to get through that second set of doors.

Warren Public Library is moving into a phased reopening plan.

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry Bob Duffy of Warren is pictured. For now, materials may only be checked out through scheduled, contactless pickup. That will begin to change next week as the library enters a period of phased reopening.

Starting Tuesday, June 30, patrons will be able to schedule one-hour blocks to use the library’s computers for “essential” tasks — no gaming and no social media. Longer blocks of time will be available by appointment.

Four computers on the first floor will be available, according to Director Kelli Knapp.

That service will be available from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Tuesdays.

Patrons inside to use the computers are not to do any browsing or take advantage of any other library services during that time.

“Starting Wednesday, July 8, we will be offering browsing by appointment,” Knapp said.

Patrons will not be expected to ‘judge the books by their covers.’

They may pull books off the shelves and flip through them.

“We can’t go through and follow everybody around and quarantine everything that they touch,” Knapp said. “We are going to ask patrons, if they touch a book, they put it in a cart or a tote. We ask them not to put anything back on the shelf.”

Browsing appointments may be made in half-hour slots from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Mondays, 1 to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays, and 4 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays.

“The first 30 minutes of each scheduled day will be reserved for vulnerable patrons,” Knapp said.

No more than 15 patrons will be scheduled during any half-hour period and browsing is limited to the first floor. “Staff can retrieve items from the basement or second floor upon request,” Knapp said.

Computer use is not allowed during browsing hours, though a catalog computer will be available.

The children’s room will be open, but children must be supervised at all times and there will be no games nor toys — browsing only.

The third phase will see the reopening of reference services by appointment starting Monday July 13.

Half-hour reference appointments may be made for the following times: Monday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Tuesday 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; Wednesday 1 to 4 p.m.; and Thursday 4 to 7 p.m.

Longer appointments may be scheduled for those who need them and the first 30 minutes each day will be reserved for vulnerable patrons.

“Reference staff will be set up on the first floor during these hours,” Knapp said.

Printing, copying, and scanning services will open up during the third phase.

Interlibrary Loan services are still not available.

Those who prefer the contactless pick-up services currently offered may continue to make those arrangements as the library starts to reopen.

Masks will be required in the library. “We have vulnerable staff and patrons and are committed to maintaining a safe environment for both,” Knapp said. The staff will work to make arrangements for patrons who are unable to wear masks.

“Due to quarantine procedures, all items must still be returned to the outside dropbox, not inside at the circulation desk,” Knapp said. “Also, we still are unable to receive materials donations. Hang onto those books and we’ll let you know when it is safe to drop them off.”

Details about the reopening will be posted on the library’s website and social media next week.

“All libraries in Warren County will be providing some type of in-person services beginning the weeks of June 29 and July 6,” Knapp said. “Pre-order and contactless pickup will still be available on a limited basis, as needed. Please contact your local library for details.”

Following is contact information for each library:

¯ Sheffield Township Library: 968-3439 www.sheffieldlibrary.org;

¯ Sugar Grove Free Library: 489-7872 www.sgfreelibrary.org;

¯ Tidioute Public Library: 484-3581 www.tidioutelibrary.org;

¯ Warren Public Library: 723-4650 www.warrenlibrary.org; and

¯ Youngsville Public Library: 563-7670 www.youngsvillelibrary.org.

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