Libraries are one of the many gathering locations closed since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But now, as New York moves through its reopening phases, libraries, too, are taking steps to bring back services that had been com- pletely virtual.
“Although it’s different, different doesn’t have to be bad,” said Center Moriches Library director Marcie Litjens.
The Center Moriches Library is projected to open to the public on July 6, with restrictions, as long as safety measures are able to be put in place by that time. The library is upgrading HVAC systems, adding sneeze guards at service stations, and other protocols to comply with safety mandates.
Patrons must wear a face covering, and will be restricted to a 30-minute visit. No more than 20 guests will be allowed in the library at once. People will still be able to select their items, print, and use the computer. The children’s area will have tables, chairs, and toys removed, but will now feature a sensory play area that gives different options. Passport service study rooms will not be available.
The library will also continue to offer the services that have been present since closing in March, like curbside pickup. The library also installed a locker system that is accessible 24/7, where patrons can order items and pick them up using their library card and password. This was a new venture that came out of adapting to the pandemic, and Litjens expects this and other services to continue.
“We definitely expect these services to go forward,” she said.
Visitors should also expect to see hand hygiene stations throughout the library and markers for social distancing. Returned items must be placed in the book drops outside and larger items can be placed in a designated bin inside the library. All materials will have a 72-hour hold period to disinfect before being lent out again.