The Star-Herald

Presque Isle library reopens for public visits with new guidelines

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The Mark and Emily Turner Memorial Library in Presque Isle has officially reopened its doors to the public for the first time since March.

In accordance with Maine CDC guidelines, the library closed in mid-March as COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic. During the months that followed, the library offered its services exclusively online and began a curbside pick-up service for books and other materials.

Library director Sonja Eyler noted that the library’s reopening depends on patrons and staff following CDC guidelines, including wearing masks and keeping at least a six-foot distance from each other.  

“People have been very happy to see us opened again,” Eyler said. “We missed the face-to-face interactions with our patrons.”

The Mark and Emily Turner Memorial Library in Presque Isle. (Melissa Lizotte | The Star Herald)

Eyler said that the library’s seven-month closure gave staff members time to monitor the COVID-19 situation in Aroostook County, and prepare to reopen with the latest recommended guidelines from the CDC. They also saw an increased demand for in-person, after-school access to library materials for students.

For now, the library plans to continue holding children’s storytime on its Facebook page and only hold small gatherings, including book club meetings, inside the library. Any events with an anticipated crowd of more than 10 people will occur outside.

Children’s Librarian Melissa St. Pierre (left) and Library Director Sonja Plummer Eyler stand next to the Mark and Emily Turner Memorial Library’s granite sign in June 2018. (Melissa Lizotte | The Star-Herald)

“It’s going to take a little more time for us to return to business as usual,” Eyler said.

Even with the changes, having patrons visit the library in-person makes the space truly feel like a library again, Eyler said.

“Libraries are places where people can better their lives and become more informed, which means that a library is nothing without people,” Eyler said. “We had missed being that place for our community.”

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