Local libraries to reopen, May 13

Published 5:49 pm Friday, May 8, 2020

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The seven branches of Albemarle Regional Library (ARL) will reopen during Phase One of Governor Roy Cooper’s reopening of North Carolina.

The libraries will once again be open for public use beginning Wednesday, May 13. There will be new regulations in place with the reopening.

Before reopening their doors to patrons, all branches have undergone two days of full and intense cleaning, particularly focusing on sanitizing areas of frequent use. During this time, the drop boxes at the branches were reopened, allowing patrons to return materials.

When patrons come to the library, they are asked to wear a face covering, per the governor’s guidelines. This request is to protect all patrons and all ARL staff members. If a patron does not have a face covering, he/she can purchase a mask at the branch for $1.

ARL will have hand sanitizer on the premises and asks all who come to its branches to follow the directives to either sanitize or wash hands.

After checked out items are returned, those items will be “quarantined” for 24 hours in order to minimize the potential spreading of any germs. Each library in the ARL now has a UV Light Disinfection Lamp, which will be used to sterilize all library materials. These lamps will also be used to further disinfect public computers and areas of regular use. The ARL staff takes seriously the need to maintain sanitized public areas.

In order to have the branches opened at this time, building capacity must be limited to 10 patrons at a time, and social distancing must be maintained. In order to meet social distancing expectations, the ARL branches will limit how many computers are available for public use. The library staff will work with patrons to make sure needs are met but asks all patrons to be flexible as all adjust to the “new normal” since the beginning of this pandemic.

The public libraries will use a single circulation computer during Phases One & Two in branches that have previously used more than one. A clear barrier is now in place in front of that computer, and all patrons are asked to approach that barrier for library services. This barrier, along with the use of PPE, will help protect both patrons and staff. When approaching the desk, entering the stacks, or moving about the library, patrons are reminded to keep and maintain proper social distance. During the initial phases for reopening, some hands-on items in the branches will be off-limits.

Patrons can continue to use ARL’s digital offerings by going to www.arlnc.org.

ARL locations are in Ahoskie, Aulander, Gatesville, Jackson, Murfreesboro, Windsor, and Winton.