The Plainville Public Library fully reopened July 27 after implementing many changes to maintain the building’s health, but patron visits are still far fewer than pre-pandemic times.
According to library Director Trish Tomlinson, the library never considered itself to be “closed” as staff continued to work through the pandemic, offering curbside pickup, online and over the phone services.
Providing those services kept everyone busy, filling orders, said Tomlinson, describing the demand. “Tons, absolutely tons (of requests). Our curbside service exploded. It was great because people could reserve materials they wanted and get them without having to have any human contact.”
However, in comparison to last year, the number of patrons visiting the library is only one-third or less than half what it was last year, Tomlinson said, explaining that most people continue to use only the curbside pickup option rather than coming inside. “It has been noticeably quieter in the library.”
To improve services, the library’s online media options have been increased including downloadable e-books, audio books and magazines, especially for children and teenagers.
Once the building reopened to the public, the library also made various changes in its set-up, hours and services. Masks are required, as is the use of hand sanitizer on entry to the facility.
”The current purpose of the library being open is simply so people can come in, browse the collection on their own and check out as soon as possible,” Tomlinson said
She said the biggest pushback from patrons is due to only being allowed 30 minutes on the computers per day. The reason for limiting not only computer use, but the amount of time guests spend in the library, is to make sure people get in and get out quickly, due to pandemic health concerns. The current, earlier, 7 p.m.closing time is because most evening traffic was from events and meetings, which are currently canceled. The library previously stayed open until 9 p.m.
Tomlinson encouraged those still not comfortable in public spaces to take advantage of the alternative services the library offers. “Curbside service is still available and will be available for the foreseeable future and is still thriving,” she said.
Plainville Public Library, 56 East Main St., is open; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday; Fridays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Contact the Adult Department at 860-793-1446 and Youth Services at 860-793-1450. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.