BY CHRISTINE LEE
With Schuylkill County in the yellow phase of the state’s COVID-19 recovery plan, public libraries are looking forward to seeing patrons again.
Members of the Pottsville Library District, which includes 14 public libraries in Schuylkill and three in Northumberland County, are formulating plans individually to reopen, with staff at a number of locations returning today to help patrons arrange curbside pickup.
Ashland Public Library Director Margaret Schachte said the different reopening schedules and policies reflect different staffing levels and populations served. She also noted that Northumberland and Schuylkill counties moved to the yellow phase at different times.
She said library directors have been meeting virtually through the Zoom app to review what is going on with the pandemic, discuss resources and share solutions.
No information was available for the Tamaqua or Minersville public libraries.
Staff returned this week, and curbside pickup begins Monday, June 8, Schachte said. Pickup times will be 1 to 5 p.m. Mondays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Patrons will be allowed to schedule appointments to use the library’s computers in half-hour time slots beginning June 15.
During the pandemic, staff has been focused on adapting library programing to reach those without internet access, Schachte said.
The public can request items from Frackville Free Public Library beginning today, according to a Facebook announcement. Patrons can place a hold for books from the online catalogue, email requests to email@example.com or call 570-874-3382 between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. A staff member will inform patrons when their request is ready and a maximum of two DVDs and 10 items in total can be requested at a time. Pickup times will be 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for those 65 and older, 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. for others on Mondays; 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays; 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for those 65 and older and 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. for others Thursdays.
The Mahanoy City Public Library will open in a limited capacity Monday, June 8, with porch pickup starting then, according to library clerk Leslie Richardson. Call the library at 570-773-1610 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a book and to arrange pickup.
The library will also offer limited computer access by appointment starting Monday, June 8. Appointments for copying and fax service are required. New temporary hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. Mondays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays will start that day, with no Saturday hours until further notice.
Orwigsburg Area Free Public Library Director Claudia Gross said depending on the outcome of repairs and deep cleaning being done at the library this week, she hopes to reopen Monday, June 8, with curbside pickup encouraged. Patrons can call the library at 570-366-1638 or email email@example.com with requests. The number of people inside the library will be limited, she added.
“We miss our patrons as much as they miss the library,” Gross said.
Orwigsburg library staff members are putting together activity packets that can be picked up for families to do at home. Patrons are also being challenged to read a story set in every state in the country, Gross said.
A voicemail recording for the Port Carbon Public Library states that the library will remain closed during the yellow phase of reopening “so necessary modifications can be made to ensure safety to employees and patrons.”
Pottsville Area Public Library Executive Director Jean Ann Towle announced a reopening plan, with the first phase, allowing staff to return, underway last week. The second phase, beginning yesterday, allows curbside pickup, computer use for business and communication only by appointment and microfilm services by appointment only. Beginning yesterday, library staff are available by phone or email from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays and 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Curbside pickup at the library will start from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and will be available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Items can be requested and appointments for computer use can be made by calling 570-622-8880 Ext. 10 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Thirty-minute computer appointments will start at 9 a.m.
Books can be returned to the outside dropbox or in a crate inside the front door. Towle said all returned materials will be quarantined for 72 hours before being checked in and reshelved. Donations are not being accepted.
The third phase will allow a limited number of patrons into the building. A date to move into that phase has not been established.
A post last Thursday on the Facebook page for the Ringtown Area Library states materials can be returned to the library book drop, but will be quarantined for three days. Library staff are establishing new curbside pickup procedures, which are anticipated to start later this week. Patrons are being encouraged to browse for books on the library’s website and place holds.
Curbside delivery is also slated to start next week at the Schuylkill Haven Free Public Library, Director Lynette Moyer said. Patrons with a regular library card can call 570-385-0542 or email email@example.com to request up to 10 materials. Once staff compiles them, they will call the patron to arrange a pickup time. No date has been set for the library to physically open, but Moyer said the number of patrons allowed in will be limited when that happens. The library’s book drop is open.
The Shenandoah Area Free Public Library will reopen today for pickup of curbside materials, according to Facebook post. Patrons can go to shenandoah.sparkpa.org/eg/opac/home to search the catalogue, then call 570-462-9829 to reserve a time to pick up materials. The library will maintain its regular hours of 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays and Fridays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.
Tower-Porter Community Library Director Tom Houtz said the library will reopen Monday, June 8, with limited hours of 1 to 4 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and 10 a.m. to noon Saturdays.
Staff at the Tremont Area Free Public Library is returning this week to prepare the building for reopening, a post on the library’s Facebook page reads. Book returns are being accepted through the outdoor return drop, with no late fees or fines for any book returned in the next few weeks. Library staff will offer some services, including curbside pickup, beginning in the next few weeks, the post reads. The public is urged to check Facebook for updates.
An announcement on the Tri-Valley Free Public Library states that staff will return this week “to begin preparing the building and finalizing a plan that will allow them to best serve their patrons safely.” Book returns are being accepted at the outdoor book return. Beginning Monday, June 8, curbside pickup, special hours for the area’s vulnerable population and computer services by reservation will be offered, the announcement reads.
The Elizabethville Area Library will reopen Friday. It will be open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, with an hour for senior citizens from 10 to 11 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. A limited number of patrons will be allowed in to use computers and materials can be ordered online for curbside pickup.
Dauphin County is also in the yellow phase of the recovery.
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-628-6028