Library adjusts for COVID-19 safety

Christie Huggins, right, waits while Q.B. Boydstun Librarian Judy Walker prints a notice for DVDs Huggins checked out. Masks and plexiglass barriers keep the two from getting into close contact.

Christy Huggins had several layers of protection when she visited Q.B. Boydstun Library on Friday.

Not only did she wear a face mask, library employees did, too. Plus, plexiglass barriers separated her from employees when she checked out her books.

"It's good," Huggins said as she picked up her DVDs. "We just have to be positive about everything we do."

Concern over COVID-19 has created a different setting at the library in the first month of its reopening.

Like others in the Eastern Oklahoma Library System, Q.B. Boydstun was closed from mid-march to June 1 because of the pandemic.

Branch manager Rhonda Lee said most people have been fine with precautions the library now must take.

"Some had an issue with the limit so far," she said. "We are trying to keep people separated. They miss being able to come in and stay all day."

The library now limits people to 30-minute visits, whether checking out or on the computer.

"We might make a little bit of an exception, but in general, we try to keep them at 30 minutes," Lee said.

Computers are separated, and tables have only one chair each to ensure personal distancing, Lee said.

Fewer people are coming, she said. Before the pandemic, the library saw about 1,000 a month.

Now, "we probably don't have more than 20, maybe 30, on some days," she said. "Normally, we'd have a lot more than that."

The library started its online summer reading program Monday. The program, called Beanstack, runs through July 31.

Readers go to: https://eols.beanstack.org to sign up.

"They can sign up as an individual or as a family," she said. "For example, a mother can go in an sign up all her kids at one time."

Readers can log the minutes or do activities.

"As they read, they put in the number of minutes they read," Lee said. "When it gets to a certain point, they get a virtual badge. When they get to the halfway point, there is a prize they can pick up here."

The library already has been giving out summer reading "grab and go" bags of activities and prizes, Lee said. 

"We will continue that through July," she said. "This is just in addition to that."

Lee said the library staff used its down time to update its collection.

"Old books that weren't being checked out, we put them up for sale," she said. 

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