Dansville Public Library offers curbside service, in-house appointments

Teresa Dearing
Special to The Express
Teresa Dearing, Dansville Public Library Director holds up a sign to instruct a children's program.

DANSVILLE — Dansville Public Library continues to expand the modified services it is able to provide following a complete shutdown that began on March 16 and ended on June 22 when the Library began offering drive-up service for materials requested by telephone and email.

On Monday, July 27, the Library began in-house services by appointment. These services will include browsing and selecting from the collection, use of a computer, limited use of a study room, as well as newspaper and magazine reading. In addition, copying and FAX services will be provided by staff members.

Visitors to Dansville Public Library are requested to keep the length of their visit to under an hour. Face masks are required for entry. Social distancing will be carefully observed. This includes limiting readers to one person per table, one person at a computer, and one person in a study room. The total number of people allowed in the Library at any one time will be at 33 percent of capacity, or 18 persons.

The Children’s Library has its own “rules.” The number allowed in the Shepard Building will be limited to a maximum of five for a family. Two family “units” may enter as long as the number doesn’t exceed five at any one time. Young children must be accompanied by an adult. Older children must come alone or with a family member. A family “group” can enter together, but the total number in the children’s area should not exceed the allowable capacity.

Library Director, Terry Dearing, stated the Library will continue providing pick up service for any materials the Library owns. Borrowers call the Library and are scheduled with a pick up time.

“Having staff members locate and check out materials for a person is a much-appreciated service and many want to see this continue,” Dearing stated. “Our staff places the bag of books or videos in your car or trunk, or you can come up to the main entrance and get your loans off the table positioned at the entrance for this purpose.”

Direct contact is minimized for health and safety of staff and public.

“Many borrowers remain cautious for a variety of reasons. They infrequently leave their homes, and continue to limit contact even during this period when COVID-19 infection rates are low,” Dearing noted. “It’s important to us to honor their choices and help them get library materials easily.”

Ms. Mary Ellen Arena, Children’s Services Manager, provides “book bundles” for families. Books are gathered together by a variety of topics, for example, pets, or wildlife, or other popular themes. “Book bundles” reduce the length of time a borrower will spend in a small area and at one location, an important factor in public safety during this pandemic. Also available, children can enjoy the Library’s first “Story Stroll” on the front lawn. Pages of a book have been arranged for families to view and read; some of the panels include an activity for a child to encourage interaction with the story.

Ms. Mary Ellen reports over 80 children are participating in the Library’s modified Summer Reading program. The program is “virtual” without any gatherings or programs. This year’s theme is, “Imagine Your Story.” Children pick up their craft and “goodie” bag every other week. In this way, reading is encouraged during the summer months, and they can read and work on crafts until the next pickup.

Interlibrary borrowing, or “holds” from other libraries in Pioneer Library System is not yet available. Delivery of materials between libraries in the four county OWWL system is a major service. Pioneer is being very cautious so as not to risk the health of its personnel as well as that of community and staff members in the 42 member libraries. It is expected modified services will continue well into the fall.

A sign shows patrons what to do as the new norm sets in for library services.