The Athens County Public Libraries will reopen their facilities in phases, with the first phase beginning May 18, according to a news release.

During this time, patrons can begin to return borrowed library items, according to a news release issued by ACPL on Friday last week. At-home library services and the Amesville locker library services will also resume, and library staff will continue remote tech help appointments, the release said.

For the week beginning May 18, library buildings will remain closed to the public, but area libraries will begin new curbside services during that time. Patrons can call any library location from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, to request materials available at that location.

When patrons arrive at the library, the release said, they should call the library again to let staff know they have arrived, the release explains. A staff member will bring the materials outside and leave them in a designated location, or place them inside the person’s vehicle. Materials not picked up by the end of the business day will be reshelved. Holds will not be available during the first week of operation starting on May 18.

However, additional library services will begin on Tuesday, May 26.

At that time, library buildings will re-open to the public, and each branch will have designated hours for “at-risk” community members. Those hours are:

• Nelsonville: Mondays and Wednesdays from 9-10 a.m.

• Athens: Mondays and Wednesdays from 9-10 a.m.

• Chauncey: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10-11 a.m.

• Coolville: Mondays from 9-10 a.m.

• Glouster: Mondays and Wednesdays from 9-10 a.m.

• The Plains: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9-10 a.m.

• Albany: Mondays from 9-10 a.m.

All due dates and renewals will reset on May 26, and held items will also become available. Public computer spaces will open also starting on May 26, but they may have a different set-up to follow safe physical distancing requirements, the release explains.

Curbside service will continue during the library's normal business hours, as well.

Library staff will follow other health and safety precautions as the facilities reopen to the public. For example, all staff will be required to wear a face covering. The news release also asked those going to the libraries to wear a face covering as well in order to protect library staff and other patrons, although it won’t be required.

In addition, the release said, a limited number of people will be permitted in library buildings at one time. Glass partitions will be present at some libraries, and some furniture may be moved or removed to follow safety requirements.

Meeting rooms will not be available for patron use. Items that are checked out of the library, and all returned items, will be sanitized. Children’s toys and activities will not be provided at any Athens County library location, and all volunteer activity is suspended.

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