ibrary branches are typically abuzz during the summer months with school-age children attending programs, teens getting lost in a good book and adults relaxing in a comfy chair with a newspaper.
This summer has certainly been different. With branch closures due to COVID-19, Zoom programs and curbside pick-up, library patrons have learned to adapt.
Starting this week, the Mid-Continent Public Library resumed technology services at its branches following a temporary closure, due to COVID-19 precautions.
Mid-Continent’s reopening comes with plenty of new restrictions, from limiting patrons visit to 90 minutes or less to closing one hour earlier than each branch’s regular closing time.
The basic reason why the library is taking these precautions is to keep staff and customers safe.
All technology services, like printers, Wi-Fi, copiers, fax machines and public computers will be available to customers.
Although patrons may experience wait times for public computers due to disinfecting procedures and social distancing standards, it is doubtful the new measures will provoke any criticism.
Librarians and staff members will be wearing masks when working at the circulation desk and interacting with customers. Patrons are also encouraged to wear masks.
But patrons must wait until the next reopening phase to browse through the stacks.
Of course, curbside pick-up and outdoor book drops will continue even though branches have reopened for technology services.
During this phase, material checked out before March 17 will not lead to fines until July 1. Patrons who checked out items on May 18 or after will be charged fines if their material is not returned after 28 days.
At this time, Mid-Continent will continue to offer virtual programs and branches will maintain lower occupancy levels to comply with social distancing guidelines.
But now more than ever, patrons are thrilled to log-in on a public computer for 90 minutes and connect with friends and family.