PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Though the Mark and Emily Turner Memorial Library will not fully open to the public for some time, staff members will soon be on hand to assist with curbside book pickups and other limited services.
Starting Monday, people who wish to reserve books for pickup can visit the library’s online catalog and call, email or directly message the library on Facebook or Twitter to make their requests. The pickup service, called Library-To-Go, will be available from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Once patrons arrive, a staff member will either leave the books by the entrance with the individual’s name on the package or bring the books to the person’s vehicle, based on the patron’s preference.
The library has also been scheduling individual appointments since June 1 for services such as passport documentation, technology assistance, exam proctoring and half-hour time slots to use one of the public computers. Though the library cannot submit passport proposals at this time, it can still assist people with preparing necessary documents.
Anyone entering the library for an appointment must wear a face mask and maintain the recommended six feet of distance between people. Staff members will also wear masks.
Staff members are taking other health and safety precautions as well, library director Sonja Eyler said, such as using disposable keyboard sleeves for public computers and disinfecting surfaces.
Staff members will be available 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through for appointments.
The combination of curbside pickups and individual appointments, Eyler noted, will help the library balance the need to keep patrons safe while offering important services.
“It’s exciting that we’ll be able to see people again. Much of what librarians do involves helping people directly,” she said.
Eyler and her staff are unsure as to when the library can gradually allow more patrons to wander among the bookshelves and take advantage of services without appointments. She plans to re-evaluate the situation with City Manager Martin Puckett and the city council during the July council meeting, and discuss whatever reopening strategy the Maine CDC might be recommending at that time.
For now, the library will continue to host online storytimes for children and a StoryWalk at Mantle Lake Park. StoryWalk, an outdoor reading adventure created by Anne Ferguson of Monteplier, Vermont, places pages from children’s books on kiosks at local parks and encourages children to read each page as they walk along a path.
Recently the library also obtained a $2,000 grant from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation to hold its annual Fairy Festival on a future date.
Eyler encourages patrons to be patient as the library gradually begins to serve the public in more traditional ways again.
“We will continue to monitor instructions from the Maine CDC and adjust our plan according to the wisdom they provide,” Eyler said. “We’re going to provide as much service as we can while not creating unnecessary risks.”