Troy Library Director Emily Dumas sits at the front desk, where masks, gloves and hand sanitizer are available, welcoming patrons back into the library June 7. A computer beside Dumas counts patron visits to maintain 50% capacity limits.

Troy Library Director Emily Dumas sits at the front desk, where masks, gloves and hand sanitizer are available, welcoming patrons back into the library June 7. A computer beside Dumas counts patron visits to maintain 50% capacity limits.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Troy library reopens to patrons after yearlong COVID closure

By: Jonathan Shead | Troy Times | Published June 9, 2021

 Troy 2-year-old Charlie Chreighton looks for a book.

Troy 2-year-old Charlie Chreighton looks for a book.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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TR0Y — After more than a year of virtual programming and access, or picking up materials curbside, the Troy Public Library’s doors finally reopened to patrons June 7.

Library Director Emily Dumas said it “feels amazing to be reopening. It feels like Christmas.

“There’s just this energy in the air and with the staff that we haven’t been able to feel in a year. We’re so excited to get the public back in there.”

Eased state restrictions under the state’s MI Vacc to Normal plan, as well as lifted mask mandates for people fully vaccinated 14 days after receiving their final dose, helped to pave the way for the library’s reopening, she said. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced plans to eliminate indoor and outdoor capacity limits July 1.

“Things are looking good, knock on wood. It’s time. It was time for us to move ahead,” she said.

Dumas and her staff likely aren’t the only people excited about the reopening. Mayor Ethan Baker said he’s been asked countless times throughout the pandemic when the library would reopen.

“The thing I’ve heard almost more than anything from residents from a city services standpoint is, ‘When is the library going to be open again?’” he said. “To be able to say June 7 is extremely exciting for me and everyone on council. I know our library director is excited to be able to welcome patrons back in.”

For patrons returning to the library more than a year later, services and operations may look a little different than before, Dumas said, but she anticipates that won’t last more than a few weeks.

In phase three, patrons are allowed a 30-minute window to browse and check out materials inside the library, which will continue to allow residents in at 50% capacity until the state’s capacity limits are lifted July 1. The library won’t offer seating, and self-checkout stations are provided for patrons to use.

Masks and/or facial coverings are required inside the library for patrons not yet fully vaccinated and children 2 years and older who are ineligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. The library will operate with reduced hours: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays; and noon-7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. The library will be closed on Fridays and Sundays.

“Our hope is that by limiting visits at first, we can move people in and out quickly, and there won’t ever be any wait to get into the building,” Dumas said. “I definitely see that changing in the coming weeks. … July is when the state is anticipating things (will) return to normal, so I’m hoping the library will be in the same boat. I don’t have any exact dates, but I think it’s going to move pretty quickly. That’s my expectation.”

As the library moves closer to normal, Dumas said her staff will be taking the time to look over the past year to determine what new programs and services worked well and what should be kept moving forward.

“I think the library has really adapted well to the situation. If you had told me prior to last year that the library could be operating online, I never would have believed it,” Dumas said. “The library has done an amazing job pivoting, and we’ve seen patrons respond really well to these new services.”

The library will be the same patrons have grown to love and support in the community, Baker added, “with some noticeable upgrades this year and next.”

Of those experimental new services, patrons seemed to gravitate most toward curbside pickup and virtual programming, Dumas explained, because of the convenience they both provided.

“There’s no need to throw (them) out, because I think we learned a lot about what we can do as a library.”

For more information, visit https://troypl.org/covid/re-opening-phases.php.

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