It’s been quite a year for the Abington Public Library. In mid-February, the building was closed for approximately three weeks to replace the nearly 20-year-old carpets. Shortly after reopening, the library was forced to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the library is once again open — albeit on a limited basis — for reading, researching, and general perusing.
“The Trustees and library staff are pleased to welcome residents back to the library,” Abington Public Library Director Deborah Grimmett said.
Grimmett was stationed outside the library under a blue tent Tuesday morning greeting patrons as they entered.
As of now, the library will be open on Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Thursdays from 11a.m. to 7 p.m., with a “Senior Hour” from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on both Tuesdays and Thursdays. Two dozen seniors took advantage of the special hour Tuesday, Grimmett said.
“The limited hours of building access will allow us to comply with state and local requirements for social distancing and cleaning. We do want people to understand that there are signs and barriers to encourage a one-way traffic flow through the building, and to promote social distancing,” she said.
Borrowers will be able to visit the library for a 30-minute time limit per person to select their materials to take home. Only 20 patrons will be allowed in the building at a time. Masks and hand sanitizing are also necessary for entrance. Computers, however, will not be available for use – yet.
“Public computers are challenging to manage in the COVID-19 era, due to their high touch nature,” explained Grimmett. “We are working to have limited computer access, by walk-up appointment, available soon.”
The library will still offer curbside pickup Monday through Friday. All holds will be delivered via curbside pickup as well.
“We want parents to know that for their own safety, children 13 years of age and younger must be accompanied by a parent/guardian when visiting the Library; teens 14 to 17 may visit without a parent, if the teen is transportation independent,” said Grimmett. “This means that the teen does not need to wait for a ride to leave the library”
The closure of the physical library didn’t halt Abington’s library team from serving its patrons by delivering materials electronically through digital apps called Hoopla and Overdrive. Digital circulation numbers soared as digital borrowing, teleconferencing book clubs and videos for children kept Abington’s reading community together, Grimmett said.
On May 26th, as part of Gov. Charlie Baker’s phased reopening plans for the state, the Library offered curbside pickup which had an overwhelmingly positive response for the community’s borrowers.
“Digital circulation is up exponentially and has been since March,” said Abington Public Library Director Deborah Grimmett. “Overall circulation of physical materials is down but building steadily since we began curbside.”
The summer reading program, virtual toddler time and story hour programs, and special programs are all available on the Library website.
“We are also running adult book discussion groups, as well as our cookbook club and a craft challenge on Zoom,” added Grimmett.
“We are so happy to begin our phased opening, and we are looking forward to a full restoration of all library services when we can do so,” said Grimmett.
For more information visit the website at www:abingtonpl.org or call the Library at 781-982-2139. For direct links: Summer reading: http://abingtonpl.readsquared.com/
Toddler Time and Story Hour: https://www.abingtonpl.org/index.php/children/storytimes-ages-0-5.
Abington Public Library schedule:
Monday: Curbside only 10:00 to 7:30
Tuesday: Building Open 11:00 to 4:00. Seniors 10:00 to 11:00. Curbside 10:00 to 4:30
Wednesday: Curbside only 10:00 to 4:30
Thursday: Doors open 11:00 to 7:00. Seniors 10 to 11:00. Curbside 10:00 to 7:30
Friday: Curbside only 10:00 to 7:30
Written by Michele Christian