Shelburne Public Library patrons can once again browse the shelves of the local library as they officially reopen for in-person access.
“To say that we’re excited to be actually welcoming our patrons inside, is an understatement,” said Rose Dotten, CEO and head librarian of the local library. “We are very close to our patrons. We see them, and we wave to them at curbside but we’re very excited to welcome them in, it’s quite a warm, fuzzy feeling to have them back.”
The Shelburne Public Library opened their doors to the public on Tuesday (July 13), after almost a year and a half of strictly curbside pickup.
“We never liked to say we were closed, we’ve always felt we were open because we felt we met all the needs. We took phone orders, email orders, put [books] on hold, and filled them that very day,” said Dotten.
Although they’ve reopened and COVID-19 restrictions have loosened indoor capacity, the library is putting a limit on time in the building. For now, users of the Shelburne Public Library will have a maximum of 30 minutes to browse the shelves and use the computers.
“We felt that, generally speaking, that was sufficient time for people to browse the shelves, go to the new books, see the authors they like, and sign up,” said Dotten. “It’s the turnover on the computers that we’re concerned about because when we’re fully open our computers are always full. The 30 minutes is so that more people can take advantage of the computers.”
While the library is open for in-person access, programs will continue to be run virtually until the end of summer. Programs the library is hosting for children include a Lego challenge, story time, sleepy story time, a scavenger hunt, and cooking modules. Teens can participate in a book club, baking sessions, and board game making lessons. Adults, teens, and children can also all participate in the BeanStack reading challenge.
“Right now, we feel the virtual is safe, and we’re doing so much to accommodate, in terms of craft bags and all the materials supplied free of charge,” said Dotten.
The Shelburne Public Library is also currently partaking in the TD Summer Reading Program, which they received the award of best children’s reading program in Canada in 2011 and 2016.
Dotten said they will look into starting in-person programing come September.
One new aspect the local library is enacting is the waiving of fines for late or overdue books.
“We know that fines can create barriers for vulnerable community members. It can prevent them from accessing services that support early literacy and lifelong learning support, which is in direct contradiction to our mandate of being the primary source of freely accessible, cultural, educational, and leisure resources,” said Dotten.
Patrons will still be responsible for returning books and replacing missing or damaged books, she added.
“As far as the daily fines, if people are a few days late, for whatever reason, we will not be charging fines,” Dotten explained.
The Shelburne Public Library will be implementing public health measure for in-person access including mandatory masks, physical distancing, and checking body temperature with technology donated for uses by KTH.
Dotten said that as long as there is demand for curbside pickup, they will continue to provide the service for library users.
Paula Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shelburne Free Press