Some Lackawanna County libraries will open their doors to the public again starting Wednesday.
Five locations will open with limited hours and services, ready for people to browse the stacks of books for the first time since mid-March.
“Our staff has been really anxious to welcome everyone back,” said Mary Garm, library system administrator.
Under state guidelines, libraries may open in the yellow phase for limited public service. Even though Lackawanna County is set to the move to the green phase Friday, safety measures, including social distancing, will remain. Face masks are required, and building capacity is limited. Patrons can also continue to use curbside pickup options.
At the Abington Community Library, staff will regularly clean high-touch surfaces and put away toys in the children’s section, such as blocks and trains, for now, said Sandy Longo, library director.
Library programs, such as storytimes and group meetings, remain canceled for now because of social distancing concerns.
“We’re operating with an abundance of caution,” Longo said. “We’re going to take a phased approach.”
Through the three-month closure because of the coronavirus, the library saw a 50% increase in digital services. The popular children’s summer reading program will only be offered online this year.
“We anticipate that for the time being, we will continue to do hybrid services,” Garm said. “Some will be digital, some will be contactless.”
Sarah balances life as a reporter for The Times-Tribune and as the mom of two little girls. A graduate of Ithaca College, Sarah started covering education in 2006. She has received awards for her reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists, Pennsylvania Newsmedia Association, Inland Press Association and Pennsylvania Women’s Press Association. She lives in Clarks Summit with her husband, their daughters and their sweet pug, Sadie. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org, 570-348-9133 or @HofiusHallTT.