Abington Library ready to start curbside pickup/dropoff starting May 26
It’s been an unusual start to 2020 for the Abington Public Library. First, the building closed for three weeks in mid-February to replace the nearly 20-year-old carpets. Then less than two weeks after patrons were allowed back in, the library was forced to close its doors again as the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered many businesses and institutions.
“It’s been an extraordinarily strange start to the year,” said Abington Public Library Director Deborah Grimmett.
Business is about to pick back up, however. Libraries will be allowed to start lending out materials via curbside pick-ups and drop-offs beginning May 25 as part of Gov. Charlie Baker’s phased reopening of the state.
“We’re pretty happy,” Grimmett said. “For those people who prefer to read print, or don’t have access to digital services because they don’t have access to the internet at home or devices, we’ve been gravely concerned about them.”
Although the library’s doors have been closed and print materials locked inside, Grimmett said her team has been busy helping patrons get materials electronically via a pair of digital apps called Hoopla and Overdrive. With more time on their hands in recent weeks, Abington readers have been busy bookworms. Grimmett said circulation numbers have jumped 25 percent since the shutdown took effect in March, with numbers up 100 percent this past April alone compared to April 2019.
“A 25 percent increase is a fairly substantial number,” said Grimmett. “Usually two, three, four percent is good growth.”
The additional digital borrowing has kept Abington’s librarians busy while mostly working from home. Not only does the Abington team curate all the reading selections for the Overdrive app, they’ve also taken on customer service responsibilities, helping troubleshoot issues Abington patrons may be having downloading materials, logging in, or getting the apps to work.
Library staff have also found other ways to keep Abington’s reading community together, including helping book clubs continue to meet through teleconferencing apps, and producing videos for children.
“Last night at home in one window I had a book club meeting, and in the other I was ordering copies of the club’s next book,” Grimmett said.
Erin Miner, a kindergarten and first grade special education teacher, as well as a mother of three, is among those excited to swing by the library, even if it’s in the car.
“As a teacher, I am excited because I am doing read-alouds for my students each week and I feel as though I have read through all the books currently in my house, so I am looking forward to using this for work as well,” she said. “The only tough part will be keeping [my daughter] Leah from trying to bust in and visit her favorite person, Ms. Amy.”
Based on advice from Abington Health Agent Marty Golightly, librarians started returning to work last week to prepare for next week’s opening.
Patrons wanting to take out books can send an email to email@example.com, or call 781-982-2139, and librarians will gather requests.
Materials can be picked up during certain windows of time starting May 26: Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
When it comes to disinfecting returned materials, Grimmett said the library will be following national industry standards, which call for materials to be quarantined for 72 hours.
“We take them out of the drop-off bin, put them on a cart, and then nobody touches them for 72 hours, and then we check them in,” she said. “That seems to be the best information we have.”
There will be a few changes when people are allowed back in to the library, which is expected to happen during Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan. Plexiglass shields have been installed at the librarian desks. There will be less seating in study areas. Certain walkways may be made one-way to help people remain six feet apart. The Library Board of Trustees is also considering designating certain hours for seniors and those who are immuno-comppromised, Grimmett said.
BELOW IS THE MESSAGE ABINGTON PUBLIC LIBRARY DIRECTOR DEBORAH GRIMMETT SENT OUT ON MAY 19
Dear Abington Families,
Under the Governor’s “Reopening Massachusetts” plan, curbside pickup of library materials can begin next week. The Abington Public Library will start offering curbside pickup on Tuesday May 26th. If you want books, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the Library at 781-982-2139, and we will gather materials for you. We can offer you specific titles, or an assortment such as “ten picture books for a four year old who likes dinosaurs and space”. Socially distanced pickup windows will be offered Monday through Friday from 11:00 AM to 4:30 PM, and Saturday from 10:30 AM to 1:00 PM, beginning May 26th.
Delivery between libraries has not yet been restored, so your choices are limited to items we currently have in the building. Delivery restoration will take some time. Returns may be placed in the Library’s book and audio-visual drops. Please no donations at this time. Please also understand that for everyone’s safety, library returns must be quarantined for 72 hours before we can check items in and remove them from your borrower’s record. Limited access to the Library building will be allowed in Phase Two of the reopening plan; we do not yet know when this will happen, and what services will be allowed. Please visit our website for more details at https://www.abingtonpl.org/APLcurbside.pdf
We hope that you are safe and well and we look forward to seeing you soon!
Deborah Grimmett, Library DirectorThe Staff and Trustees of the Abington Public Library