Montague libraries reopen for curbside pickup

  • The Montague Center Public Library on Center Street. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • The Millers Falls Library Contributed photo

  • The Carnegie Library Contributed photo

Staff Writer
Published: 5/24/2020 12:39:14 PM

MONTAGUE — Bibliophiles can rejoice, as the three town libraries will reopen Tuesday for curbside pickup by appointment.

The Carnegie Library, Montague Center Public Library and Millers Falls Library have been closed since mid-March, when the state government began limiting public activities due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

With the state now rolling out its four-phase plan to reopen, limited operation of libraries will be allowed, said Montague Libraries Director Linda Hickman. Though the buildings will still be closed to the public, patrons will be able to request materials by email, phone or through the online catalog at montaguepubliclibraries.org.

Library staff members will then check out the items and package them in labeled paper bags, then call or email the patron to arrange a time to pick them up, Hickman said.

To return items, patrons will leave them in the outdoor drop-off bins. Staff members will then “quarantine” them for four days, then disinfect any plastic surfaces before restocking the items, Hickman explained. Patrons who are sick should not return materials until they have recovered, she added.

Hours at the Carnegie Library in Turners Falls will be Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with limited evening availability; the Montague Center Library will be open for curbside pickup on Mondays and Wednesdays from 2 to 7 p.m.; and the Millers Falls Library will offer it on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 to 7 p.m.

The Selectboard, discussing this plan on Monday, had no issues with it, and said residents would probably welcome library service.

“People are at home. They’re starting to get bored,” speculated board member Mike Nelson.

Hickman confirmed: “We have gotten many phone calls and emails pleading us,” she said. “We’ve waited to do it as safely as possible.”

Although the libraries have been closed to the public since mid-March, they have still been staffed. Hickman, as director, is still working her normal hours, and other staff members are rotating at reduced hours. She said they’ve stayed busy ordering new books and other materials.

Progress toward fully reopening the libraries will be determined as the state adapts its rules, Hickman said. In Phase 2 of the four-phase plan to reopen the state, it might be possible to allow a few people into the library at a time, but she said she expects more specific guidance from the state Board of Library Commissioners.

“This is all on an experimental basis,” Hickman said. “We’re going to see how this works. I’m sure there’s going to be some fine-tuning involved.”

Reach Max Marcus at mmarcus@recorder.com or 413-930-4231.




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