March 31, 2021 — The Siuslaw Public Library District has announced that it will be reopening to the public for browsing and check-out of materials on Thursday, April 1.
Branch locations in Mapleton, 88148 Riverview Ave., and Florence, 1460 Ninth St., will reopen, with the Mapleton Branch operating fewer hours than in pre-pandemic times.
Both branches have been largely closed to the public since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the partial shut-down of many parts of the community. However, the easing of state-mandated restrictions, the lowering case counts and the increase in vaccinations have prompted the Siuslaw Public Library Board, and Library Director Meg Spencer, to take the first steps towards a full reopening at some point in the future.
According to Spencer, the district has added services and increased patron on-line options significantly since the virus struck and will continue to offer the increased informational opportunities to patrons moving forward.
“We added lots of great online services, including digital access to Consumer Reports; Creativebug, which is a fantastic craft tutorial database; NewsBank, which provides daily access to hundreds of newspapers, including the RegisterGuard; full-text copies of many popular magazine titles through Overdrive; and TumbleBooks and TumbleMath for younger learners. We also circulated a total of more than 51,000 physical and digital titles over that time,” Spencer said.
One aspect of library safety protocols that will remain in effect is the policy of curbside pick-ups. Patrons will still be asked to drop off their checked-out items Monday through Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and on Fridays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
In Mapleton, curbside service will also continue, and the branch will now be open for browsing from noon until 5 p.m. on Thursdays only.
The library also has new touch less check-out stations for patrons to use.
One of the other main changes, at least for the initial re-opening, patrons will encounter is a lack of seating. There will be no internal seating at this time and meeting rooms are not available.
In addition, children will be allowed to browse with parents, but toys are not available and there will be no play groups or in-house story times.
There is, however, an online version of “Story time” and an online Book Club which can be accessed through www.facebook.com/SiuslawPublicLibrary.
Spencer said she is pleased with the prospects of reopening the library and wants the community to reengage in the way best suited to their individual situations.
“Most of all, I cannot wait to welcome our patrons back to the library,” she said. “Almost every day, one or another of us working here at the library wonders about how another one of patrons is doing, and what they are reading, and when will we get a chance to be together in this wonderful library again. We are so excited to have our best friends and neighbors back once again.”
She said that staff have also been hard at work to prepare for reopening.
“I truly work with the best people in the world. Our librarians have been creative and committed to keeping library services available in new and flexible ways,” Spencer said. “I am glad that the whole library team will now be back to doing what we love most — seeing and working with our patrons.”
Siuslaw Public Library will continue to offer curbside service for those who wish to pick up library materials that way, with carts now located inside the main lobby of the Florence library.
If patrons applied for a library card during the closure, it can be picked up during browsing hours with a photo ID and proof of current street address.
For new library cards, SPL will provide applications to be completed out of the building, and then patrons will be asked to return for the card, again providing photo ID and proof of address.
Restrooms will also be closed to the public during this phase of the SPL reopening.
For more information, go to www.siuslawlibrary.info.