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Sanibel library to reopen with phased plan

By Staff | May 28, 2020

PHOTO PROVIDED Sanibel Public Library staffer Melissa Balthaser prepares the new fiction for circulation.

Patrons will once again have the opportunity to browse bookshelves, use computers, read magazines, connect to WiFi and more at the Sanibel Public Library with its reopening on June 1.

Phase I precautions are in place to help protect staff and the public from COVID-19. Patrons will have to maintain social distance inside the building and are encouraged to wear masks, except for children under age 2. Staff has implemented safety and sanitation procedures consistent with the CDC and State of Florida Department of Health Guidelines.

The building closed to the public on March 18 and started select services, such as curbside pickup and readers’ advisory by phone, on May 4. The phased reopening signifies the opening of more services.

“People have been especially missing being able to wander through the shelves of more than 70,000 items to pick and choose books, movies and more,” Executive Director Margaret Mohundro said. “We appreciate everyone’s patience as we work to ensure service while maintaining safety for users and for staff.”

The library’s eShelf and all online services will continue to be available 24/7. In-person programming like the youth storytime will remain suspended for now. Meeting rooms and study rooms will still be closed.

PHOTO PROVIDED Staffers Jared Rook, Melissa Balthaser and Candy Heise prepare for reopening.

Signs will be posted to remind everyone to practice social distancing, wash hands, stay home if sick, and use face masks. Patrons will have access to the full collection of books, movies, newspapers and puzzles, as well as high-speed WiFi and public use computers.

Previously announced contact-free services and book returns will continue.

“The contact-free curbside pickup has been very popular,” Adult Services Coordinator Candy Heise said. “We will continue to offer this service, with the same pickup times of weekdays from noon to 3 p.m.”

“We are happy to be open, and for the safety of staff and patrons we are asking everyone to wear masks while inside the building,” Mohundro said.

At this time, there will not be overdue fines assessed for materials returned late. There are two book drops: one is outside of the west entrance, and the drive-up book drop is in the second parking garage. The book drops allow patrons to return DVDs, magazines, books and other library material at any time.

The library invites families to register children online for the 2020 Summer Reading Program. This year’s theme is “Imagine Your Story.” Registration for all ages, from babies-to-teens, will start on June 1.

Participants will receive a special gift, but quantities are limited.

“We hope children will sign up for a fun filled Summer Reading Program with a different look,” Youth Service Librarian Deanna Evans said.

Weekly programs have moved online. Additional program details will be announced.

As in years past, children will read to earn books for their home library and for patients at the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. For every two hours of reading, the Sanibel Public Library Foundation matches each book “earned” with a book for the hospital. Since its inception in 2012, participants have helped to contribute close to 10,000 books. The Summer Reading Program is funded in part by a grant from the foundation’s Joan Hunt Cory Children’s Fund. The fund was established in 2008 to honor longtime volunteer and supporter Joan Hunt Cory, who was also a Sanibel resident.

Library cards are available to residents of Sanibel and Lee County at no charge.

The Sanibel Public Library will be open Mondays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For more information, call 239-472-2483 or visit online at www.sanlib.org.

The Sanibel Public Library is at 770 Dunlop Road.