The long-shuttered Sandwich Public Library will temporarily reopen to the public at 9:30 AM on Tuesday, July 21, but services will be drastically reduced and patrons will not be encouraged to stay for long.
It will be a carefully controlled “soft reopening,” library director Joanne Lamothe said.
The Main Street building’s familiar interior landscape will be vastly different in an effort to keep staff and patrons safe from coronavirus infection.
“We have so many protocols to put in place, but I’m confident we’ll have everything ready by Tuesday,” Ms. Lamothe said, adding, however, that it will be a very different experience for patrons.
Much of the inside, for example, will be closed to the public. The main stacks will not be open for browsing, and there will be no access to the children’s room.
Library staffers will be masked and working behind plexiglass windows in many areas. The library is asking that all visitors also wear masks and stay six feet from others. Hand sanitizer will be available at several locations.
Only 20 people at a time will be allowed inside the building. People must enter through the rear ramp entrance at the back of the building and exit through the main doors to the parking lot. The Main Street entrance will remain closed.
An “eyes-only” browsing section located in the new books area will contain adult, children’s and young adult books.
If a book or magazine is touched, it should be placed on a specially designated cart, and if a patron is seeking a particular book or magazine from anywhere in the library, a staff member will retrieve it.
Computers will not be available to the public, nor will fax or printing services. Meeting rooms will remained closed.
The library is accepting returns. More than 700 of the library’s items are out on loan at the moment, including books, audiobooks and movies that could have been loaned to Sandwich library patrons or to other libraries in the network, Ms. Lamothe said.
Returned items should be deposited in the outside book drop or in the blue bin that is inside near the vestibule. Returned items will be quarantined for 72 hours before they are checked in.
Overdue fines incurred during the coronavirus shutdown will be waived, the library director said.
The library is not accepting donations of books or magazines, and the Friends Book Sale has been canceled for now.
Library hours are 9:30 AM to 8:30 PM on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; and 9:30 AM to 4 PM on Friday and Saturday. The library is closed on Sunday and Monday.
Ms. Lamothe told the library’s board of trustees this week that it has not yet been determined whether the library will move to a temporary location when renovations on the Main Street building begin at the end of this year.
Meanwhile, many of the library’s ebooks and programs are available online. For more information, visit www.sandwichpubliclibrary.com.