The Next Normal: Visiting your public library

The Next Normal: Visiting your public library

LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - If you want to check something out, well you might need to call first. Some area libraries aren’t open yet, but many, like the Longview Public Library are. So what can you expect if you need a good read in the Next Normal?

Outside, the Longview Public Library looks the same as it ever was, but inside, well it’s a different story according to Library Manager Jennifer Eldridge.

“We installed sneeze guards at all of our service points, and we actually have a staff member at the front desk encouraging patrons to wear masks. It’s not required but it’s heavily encouraged,” Eldridge said.

As is hand sanitizing on entrance. But if you don’t want to go in, there’s curbside.

“We are still offering that service, and it’s still a very popular service. Staff are required to wear masks at all times for their safety,” Eldridge said.

But there are things that are hands off for now like:

“Computers and our printers, because those are considered a hands-on activity according to Gov. Abbott,” Eldridge said.

And some of the seating areas are off limits. They are also sticking to 25 percent occupancy.

“That’s no more than 100 people in the building at the same time. We’re averaging about 15 to 20 people tops,” Eldridge said.

People like Tania Goodman of Longview who couldn’t wait for the doors to open back up.

“I was really excited. I was ready for us to get in here to get some books and check them out for the kids to read. Give them something else to do besides playing video games,” Goodman said.

And when those checked out items are returned:

“Those materials are then quarantined an additional amount of time to make sure they’re safe to recirculate again,” Eldridge said.

Which means you may want to call and get on a waiting list for something specific. And it seems to be like this all over.

“We’ve spent a lot of time corresponding with local libraries and with state libraries officials and national library officials and this does seem to be the new normal,” Eldridge said.

Eldridge says there has been a surprising side effect:

“We get a lot of comments on how quiet the library is right now,” Eldridge said.

So there are a lot of new changes, and surprisingly one reversion.

Eldridge says she doesn’t see any of their new policies changing any time soon. She says it may change back to the old ways after a vaccine is created.

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