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HAZEL GREEN, Wis.–The Hazel Green Library is among many libraries in the area exploring uncharted waters and finding new ways to engage their patrons during a pandemic.
The library is currently providing two options to their patrons, curbside and in-person, but in-person access is preferably by appointment.
“We only allow either one person or one household in the library at a time,” said Megan Flatley, director.
The library can also take orders via its online system or patrons can call in requests to have the books ready for pick up.
“When the orders are ready, we contact them and because we need to set up times now, we contact everyone to make sure they know their pickup times,” said Flatley.
The library has two computers open and utilize washable keyboards to allow for better sanitization between users. There are 30-minute appointments for computer usage.
Books upon return go through a sanitizing process in order to limit exposure amongst readers.
“Anything that is returned to us goes in the drop box or the drop slot. Then at the beginning of the day or at the end of the day, we take it out and wipe everything down. They then dry and they get shelved the following day,” said Flatley. “Anything that is utilized through the library’s interlibrary loan system is quarantined by the system for a week.”
Flatley said they are still seeing patrons that want to browse the shelves. One of the challenges is that families want to utilize the library but toys can’t be out at this time.
“Board books, we have to wait longer because they have to dry between the pages,” said Flatley. “A lot of preliminary research from the library world states that board books hold some of the most because of the tactile surfaces. For those items, it is better to quarantine them.”
Flatley said circulation numbers will be down this year, but that the library staff looks forward to continuing to provide services to the community.