Benson Memorial Library will reopen to the public on Monday, Aug. 24 at 11 a.m. The reopening comes with new library hours, which will be Monday and Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays will be reserved for contactless lobby pickup only from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays are likely to be added later in the fall.
Though the library will be reopened, it will operate differently from when it closed in March. All patrons, except those who need to use the handicapped entrance, will be asked to enter through the front door on Franklin Street and exit via the side door to the alley. For the safety of patrons and staff, library access will be limited to 20 people at a time. Patrons will be asked to limit their visits to 30 minutes for browsing and 60 minutes for public computer use.
Masks must be worn at all times within the library building and patrons are asked to maintain social distancing. Masks will be provided to those who need them. Contactless lobby pickup is available every Friday for those unable to comply with mask requirements or who wish to continue contactless service and pickup.
Computers will be available for 60-minute time slots. Printing, copying and faxing will all be available. Newspapers will be available digitally via a dedicated laptop for browsing. Physical newspapers will not be available. Other services, such as VHS digitization, can be done through staff by appointment. Patrons will have full access to browse the regular collection. Restrooms will be available.
Due to health concerns, some services will remain unavailable at this time including computer and equipment/device assistance and telephones. All non-computer seating has been removed, and all meeting rooms are unavailable. Story times and other programs and events will be held virtually on Facebook for the foreseeable future.
The library is being treated with an antimicrobial surface shield that will kill germs on contact. Staff will wipe down common surfaces continuously during the day. All returned materials will be quarantined for seven days, so patrons will not see returned books leave their accounts until that quarantine period has ended. Patrons are encouraged to return their items via the outdoor book drop. No fines will be levied during the pandemic.
The library will reopen after extensive renovations to the windows and doors.