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Lowdown on libraries: Changes book worms need to know about

Because of COVID-19, there are a lot of changes public library patrons can expect on their next visit. Newswatch 16 checks out what's new and different.

Whether it's forcing the cancellation of events or changing the ways businesses do business, public libraries in our area are among the many switching gears because of the pandemic.

But there's hope for book worms everywhere. 

Newswatch 16's Ryan Leckey scoped out what's new and different at some of our area's local public libraries. 

From extra cleaning to curbside pickup, some libraries, including the Montrose Public Library and Scranton Public Library system, have taken steps to make sure library lovers can still get their fill of materials. 

The following information is courtesy of both the Montrose and Scranton Public Libraries. 

If details about your favorite place aren't listed below, librarians encourage you to check your local libraries' social media pages or websites for the most up to date changes because of COVID-19.

Montrose Public Library

  • The library is following all CDC guidelines
  • Began with curbside pickup of books and materials, and that service continues.
  • Furniture is spread out so community members can still enjoy the atmosphere of the library but with social distancing.
  • All books and materials returned are quarantined before they are put back into circulation.
  • Computer use is limited to 30 minutes unless there is no one waiting.
  • Computers are spread out for social distancing.
  • All computers are cleaned whenever someone is finished using it, so it is ready for the next patron.
  • Bathrooms and frequently touched surfaces are cleaned regularly.
  • Because it is a new building, the lights go on when someone enters the room; alleviates touching light switches.
  • United Way purchased iPads for the community to use; living in a rural area, many do not have computers, cell phones, or Wi-Fi, so technology isn't accessible to them.
  • Summer Quest 2020 Reading Program "Imagine Your Story" is virtual, and each child who signs up receives a free book of their choice.
  • Wi-Fi is available in the parking lot when the library is open.
  • Online storytime - children are provided with a craft bag which goes with the story.
  • Birding Backpacks are available for families to sign out.                  

Montrose Blueberry Festival Downsized in August 2020 

  • Raffle tickets are available for purchase at the Montrose Public Library for the beautiful handmade quilt for the festival.
  • New and old books are for sale in the community room during regular library hours.
  • Blueberries, pies, and jams also for sale at the library. 
  • Basket raffle items, silent auction items including original artwork, all available at the library. 
  • "White Elephant Sale" will take place. Keep an eye on this Facebook page for days and times in August.

Scranton Public Library

Reopening Procedure & What is New or Different

Safety/Cleaning Procedures

  • High-touch areas such as doors, countertops, and kiosk machines are disinfected after each use.
  • Public computers have plastic keyboard and mouse covers that are changed out after one use.
  • Face Masks are required at all times while visiting the library.
  • Lines are marked on the floors for visitors to practice social distancing.
  • Limited occupancy in each library and in specific areas to make sure social distancing can be maintained.
  • 2 Hour Limit for visitors when using the library
  • The Stacks area at the Albright Memorial Library is blocked off to visitors, but staff can retrieve a book for a patron.
  • The Lackawanna County Children's Library has only the Lobby area available for families to browse books. A staff member can go back to the shelves to retrieve a book for patrons.
  • Returned library materials are quarantined for 72 hours before being checked in. No fines will accrue for these 72 hours.

Available Services / What's New

  • New Curbside Pickup for people to pick up library materials
  • DVDs, Blu-Rays, and audiobooks are available in addition to print books to pick up.
  • Curbside Service Hours:
    Albright Memorial Library (500 Vine Street) & Lackawanna County Children's Library (520 Vine Street) from Monday through Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Friday & Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
    Nancy Kay Holmes Library (1032 Green Ridge Street) from Monday through Friday from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • New self-checkout station at the Albright Memorial Library for visitors to check out library materials with their card.
  • New Self-Registration for a library card at the Albright Memorial Library
  • New virtual & online programs for all ages coming in July. These will be either live or prerecorded on Facebook and Zoom.
  • Printing, Faxing, and Copying services are available.
  • Public computer access is limited to 2 hours.

New Operating Hours for SPL branches:

Albright Memorial Library
500 Vine Street, Scranton
Monday – Thursday: 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sunday: Closed

Lackawanna County Children's Library
520 Vine Street, Scranton
Monday – Thursday: 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sunday: Closed

Nancy Kay Holmes Library
1032 Green Ridge Street, Scranton
Monday – Thursday: 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Friday: 11:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday: Closed

Library Express Bookstore
2nd Floor of the Marketplace at Steamtown
Monday – Saturday: 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Sunday: 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.