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Osterhout Free Library lays out plan for building reopening

Library is planning to reopen its doors to the public on July 20th.

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — Inventory is being checked over inside the Osterhout Free Library in Wilkes-Barre because even though the library hasn't reopened completely, readers can still check out books.

"I think one of the best ideas that we've had is the no-contact pickup," said Rachel Balon, the assistant adult services coordinator. "People can call and request a book, seven items, and people can come pick it up in our lobby with no contact."

Returns have been working the same way, too.

Adult Services Coordinator Liz Caputo stresses that the library provides the community with a lot more than books and staff say regular visitors before the pandemic have missed coming inside to take advantage of all it has to offer.

RELATED: Online library available for free during COVID-19 crisis

"The computers are just one thing. We have a computer upstairs where she'll help you set up an email address and even newspapers. People who don't want to pay for the newspapers, we have them in here. We have a lot of citizenship and immigration resources that people are missing out on," said Caputo.

Later this month, the inside of the library will reopen, but there will be regulations in place.

"Masks and social distance. We are going to have feet on the floor to show 6 feet and ask that there's only going to be one chair at a table at a time," added Balon.

Folks with the library tell Newswatch 16 whenever a book is returned, or once it's opened, when a book is touched on the shelves that book will need to go into a 72-hour quarantine before it can be put back on the shelf.

"We will also have a traffic flow in here, so that way you can browse without having to worry about running into somebody else," explained Caputo.

The library has a tentative reopening date for July 20, but currently has opportunities for readers online, like virtual book clubs. To learn more visit the library's website here.