Adapting to changes in the midst of a pandemic has been the name of the game, and the Pike County library system is no exception.

Libraries across the state were closed due to coronavirus/COVID-19 stay-at-home orders by the state several months ago, and many have not re-opened as of yet.

Curbside pickup for Pike County began in early May and has continued at the main location, the Garnet A. Wilson Public Library of Pike County in Waverly, and the Piketon, Western and Eastern branches. The times for this service are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday at all locations, and at the Waverly location only on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. According to Jessica Jones, Public Services coordinator, the hours for Monday have recently been expanded from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., to offer times to those who are unable to visit the library during the earlier hours.

To utilize this service, please call the library location you wish to go to (Waverly (740) 947-4921, Eastern (740) 226-4408, Western (740) 493-1745, and Piketon (740) 289-3064) and request the specific items you would like to check out.

“With curbside we are having to stagger patrons’ arrival by having them sign up for time slots to pick up their books or take advantage of fax/copy services,” said Jones. “Although they are not entering the building, this gives staff the appropriate amount of time to easily and fully serve each patron. It’s not necessarily a challenge, but a change that we’ve adapted to.”

Jones said that patrons have been appreciative of the efforts the library is making.

“We’ve received comments from patrons thanking us for finding ways to still offer library services while thinking about the best ways to keep everyone safe,” she said. “We do, however, miss our patrons being able to come in, and they are also looking forward to the day we are able to open back up for walk-in service.”

After books are checked out, they must go into “quarantine” for a brief period when they are returned.

“Books are being quarantined for three days in totes (direct deposited from drop box) without being handled by staff,” explained Jones. “After that three-day quarantine period, staff are disinfecting the covers of the books while wearing gloves before making them available to be checked out again.”

The library system’s digital resources have been available throughout the closure through the website (pikecountylibrary.org) and Facebook. The staff of the Garnet A. Wilson Public Library of Pike County realizes that the internet is not always accessible for some individuals. In that case, a simple phone call is all that is needed.

“Patrons can call in to request information about items we have on our shelves, request items to be held for them, and schedule a time for curbside,” said Jones. “We’re happy to help!”

A plan is in the works to offer the summer reading program, which has been popular with youngsters for many years and more recently adults across Pike County.

“We are currently finalizing summer reading plans, and we’ll be posting the information soon,” said Jones. “This year will see a lot of online programming, but patrons who sign up for the reading challenge will still receive a tote and sign-up items as well as prizes for finishing the challenge!”

As was previously shared in the Pike County News Watchman (May 3, 2020 edition) and through the library website and Facebook page, limitations are in place regarding the amount of items each card holder is able to get. Current library rules apply with this service, such as only five videos per patron. In addition, the library will limit 10 items total per patron per pick-up, and one pick-up per day per patron.

Patrons are asked to have a valid library card ready when you call (good standing with any fines less than $5), as the information on it will be required. Patrons may also put library items on hold via the website at www.pikecountylibrary.org , but will still need to call the location to set up a pick-up time. Once the patron has arrived, a library staff member will bring the items requested out to the vehicle. It is also important to have the library card available during pickup so the staff can confirm identity.

The library reserves the right to cancel or limit curbside pick-up due to weather, limited staffing, or problems with patron cards.

“We would like to thank the community for their support, and we hope they stay healthy,” finished Jones.

Email at jbillings@newswatchman.com; follow on Twitter @ Julie_Billings

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