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J. Joel Edwards Public Library reopens to patrons

The J. Joel Edwards Public Library will open its doors to the public again Thursday, June 18 to allow patrons access to books, DVDs and technical services. In order to facilitate the return of patrons to the building, significant changes to the library’s normal operations will be implemented. ’Following the recommendations from the Regents Public Library Advisory Council (RPLAC) for ‘˜soft’ opening procedures, we hope that we will be able to transition from these changes back toward our normal routine operations in due time,’ said library manager Rosemary Bunn. As patrons return to their libraries, they will notice several precautions implemented for the safety of both patrons and staff. For example, until further notice all materials must be returned only through the outside book drop to allow a quarantine period before those items are processed for circulation. No fines will accrue during this quarantine period. In the beginning phases of the library’s opening, there will be a limit of 10 patrons inside the library at a time. Library staff ask that patrons conduct their business in a brief manner to allow room for other patrons to use the library. Temperatures will be taken of each person that walks in the door. Any patrons who exhibit symptoms of the flu or COVID-19 will not be permitted inside the building. Masks and other face coverings will not be required or supplied to patrons except in cases in which the patron’s needs dictate close contact between them and a staff member. In these cases, patrons may be asked to wear a mask and will be supplied with one if needed. Computer availability will be limited to one 30-minutes session per day. Patrons will need to check in at the front desk to sign in for computer use. Alternatively, patrons may reserve a computer for a specific time by calling the library ahead of time or checking at the front desk. The library staff will continue to be available for reference services over the phone Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Patrons will have access to the building for check out and technical services (public access computers, printing, etc.) Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Curbside service will continue to be available for patrons that wish to check out books without entering the building. The library’s annual Summer Reading Program will continue in full-swing throughout June and July. Children ages 0-12 can register for the program by calling the library or visiting and students that are rising eighth graders and older (up to 18), should register for the teen program by calling the library. Paper reading logs, stickers, bookmarks, and a schedule of virtual programming can be picked up at the library through the curbside service or at the front desk. The library currently provides a wide array of virtual programs via Facebook Live and invites the public to follow the J. Joel Edwards Public Library on Facebook for book talks, story times, craft instructions, and cooking programs. A complete calendar of events can also be downloaded from the Facebook site. ’These are unusual and challenging times for libraries across the country,’ said Bunn, ‘But with the cooperation of our hard-working staff and understanding patrons, we look forward to becoming a stronger, more vital service to our community.’

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