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Local libraries work to return books, programs to patrons

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published June 19, 2020

 Warren Library Director Oksana Urban said curbside pickup is now available at the Civic Center Library at City Hall, east of Van Dyke Avenue and north of 12 Mile Road.

Warren Library Director Oksana Urban said curbside pickup is now available at the Civic Center Library at City Hall, east of Van Dyke Avenue and north of 12 Mile Road.

Photo by Brian Louwers

CENTER LINE/WARREN — For many, almost 10 weeks in quarantine would’ve been better with trips to the local library and countless hours spent basking in the company of borrowed books.

While a true return to life as we knew it may still be a ways off, library staffers in Center Line and Warren say they’re ramping up efforts to safely expand offerings in June, with even more programs and services planned for the month of July.

“We are open,” Center Line Library Director Wesleyann Johnson said. “We have had, I would say, last week (June 8) was our first week open, about 200 individuals stop by the first week, mainly for hold pick-ups.”

With so many books left languishing on hold and unable to be distributed during the statewide coronavirus shutdown, librarians were busy working to get them to readers who finally were able to come calling at the library.

“We’re happy to be doing what we do best, which is putting library materials in the hands of patrons,” Johnson said. “We’re just excited. There’s nothing good about having a library full of materials that are sitting on the shelf all day. They need to be taken home and enjoyed.”  

The Center Line Library at 7345 Weingartz St. is back operating under normal hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays; and noon to 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Staff will be wearing masks and using gloves for cash transactions, and plastic guards have been put in place for everyone’s protection.

The library’s 2020 Summer Reading Program is already up and running, with prizes donated by the Friends of the Center Line Library in the form of gift cards benefiting local businesses. Information about the all-ages program is available on the library’s website at

Johnson said a slow return to in-person programming will begin with a Native American storytelling session for children outside, weather permitting, at 6 p.m. July 15. On July 18, patrons will be treated to a performance by “The Jazz Cycle” at 6 p.m. Both programs are free. Registration is encouraged by calling (586) 758-8274, but it is not required.

“You have to start somewhere. It’s not going to be a program-heavy summer,” Johnson said. “We’re just going to try it out.”

Library materials in both Center Line and Warren are quarantined for 72 hours before they’re redistributed to new patrons.

Warren Library Director Oksana Urban said curbside pick-up is now available at the Civic Center Library at City Hall, east of Van Dyke Avenue and north of 12 Mile Road. The city’s neighborhood branch libraries — the Busch Branch on Ryan Road, the Burnette Branch on Van Dyke and the Miller Branch on Arden Avenue — will remain closed until further notice.

“We started it (curbside pick-up) on the 8th of this month, and patrons are calling in,” Urban said.

Patrons with an email on file at the library will receive a notice when requested books are in stock, and they can then schedule a pick-up. The service is available from noon to 7:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

“We intend to open the Civic Center branch July 6 for patron access,” Urban said. “Our patrons are very eager to get back to the library.”

The experience will likely be similar to what’s happening elsewhere in the new-look COVID-19 world. The library will have no-touch hand sanitizer dispensers, plastic dividers, personal protective equipment for the staff and signage indicating safe distances according to social distancing protocol.

Urban said computer use would commence with 18 stations spaced 6 feet apart. Plastic covers will be used for the keyboard and mouse at each station.

The Warren library’s popular fax service will also resume in July.

You can reach Warren’s Civic Center Library at (586) 751-0770.