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Troy library offers curbside pickup and returns, prepares to reopen

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published June 23, 2020

 Patrons return materials to the outside drop box at the Troy Public Library, available from 10 a.m. Saturdays through 9 p.m. Mondays.

Patrons return materials to the outside drop box at the Troy Public Library, available from 10 a.m. Saturdays through 9 p.m. Mondays.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

 Troy library patrons have until July 13 to renew or return items kept during the lockdown.

Troy library patrons have until July 13 to renew or return items kept during the lockdown.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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TROY — When Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued the Stay Home, Stay Safe executive order March 23, there were 40,000 items checked out of the Troy Public Library.

As the library prepares to reopen following social distancing guidelines next month — staff is first quarantining, then processing the returned items so they can go back into circulation.

Troy Public Library Director Cathy Russ said that from June 3 to June 6, the first time items could be returned through the outside drop box since the shutdown, 8,000 items came back in.

Russ explained that for the “foreseeable future,” the outside drop box will be open only three days each week. “We cannot accept returns continually,” Russ said.

“All those webinars I attended about safely accepting material returns and Center(s) for Disease Control (and Prevention) guidelines certainly paid off,” Nicole Bovee, the head of circulation for the Troy Public Library, said via email. “In order to adhere to the CDC guidelines, we are accepting returns from 10 a.m. Saturday through 9 p.m. Monday every week. Those materials are then quarantined for 72 hours, after which time we then begin the process of checking them in. All the materials we have received, so far, have come back in good condition.”

Curbside pickup — where library items reserved online or over the phone are delivered curbside to people’s cars —  started last week.

Russ urged library patrons to wait to pick items up until they are notified the items are ready.

“If people just show up, we will be overwhelmed,” Russ said.

Based on current social distancing guidelines, the maximum number of people allowed in the library will be 200 when it reopens in phase three on an unnamed date in July. There will be no programs offered at the library during this phase of reopening. However, virtual programs for adults and children will be offered through Zoom.

There is a summer reading program offered electronically this year. Visit troypl.org/SLP.

Russ said they are working on ways to figure out how many people are in the library at one time when the library reopens.

“The big thing is we have to move (and store) furniture. We have a 50,000-square-foot building with a lot of furniture and no storage space at all,” Russ said.

There were 30,000 new circulation items in quarantine at the vendors that could not be shipped during the shutdown that staff has to catalog — many of them for the children’s collection.

“There will be a time limit,” Russ said of the time patrons may spend inside the library. “We want to be able to serve as many people as we can. Please understand that we want you back.”

Patrons will be able to enter the building to pick up materials in a “grab and go” sense. Study areas, public computers and children’s play areas will not be open.  In phase four, normal operations will resume.

All previously checked-out items are due July 13 — and people should be able to renew the items before that date, if they wish. People should hold on to larger items that do not fit into the drop box.

Upon reopening under phase three, there will be hand sanitizer everywhere. Sneeze guards and safety shields will be installed. All staff will be wearing masks and all patrons will be asked to wear masks as well.

Outreach librarians are available to deliver books to residents who cannot physically get to the library due to disability or permanent illness. Patrons who qualify for this service can set up their first delivery by filling out an outreach request form or by calling (248) 680-7297.

Visit troypl.org or call (248) 524-3538. The library is located at 510 W. Big Beaver Road.

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