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Library reopens with safety measures in place

By TIFFANY REPECKI / trepecki@breezenewspapers.com - | Oct 13, 2020

LEE COUNTY The Captiva Memorial Library reopened to patrons on Oct. 6.

After nearly seven months, the Captiva Memorial Library has reopened its doors to patrons.

On Oct. 6, the Lee County Library System — which includes the island branch — announced the reopening of five libraries and the Talking Books Library lobby. All of its branches were closed earlier this year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, followed by a phased reopening that started in May.

“We are very happy to be able to have all 13 of our locations open for all of our patrons,” Deputy Director Nancy Roark said. “We have had virtual services available the entire time we were closed.”

However, she added, they know how important it is for people to visit their favorite facility.

“It provides them with a sense of normalcy, so we’re happy to be able to provide that,” Roark said.

In addition to the Captiva branch, the libraries that reopened were the Dunbar-Jupiter Hammon Public Library, Johann Fust Community Library, Pine Island Public Library and Riverdale Branch Library.

Hours at the five branches are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

“We have limited hours,” she said of the recently reopened libraries.

Due to the ongoing health crisis, new safety protocols and measures have been put in place.

“We have removed some of the furniture to allow for social distancing,” Roark said. “We also have plexiglass shields at our service desks.”

She noted that Lee County does not have a mask mandate.

“So patrons are not required to wear one,” Roark said. “Our staff will be wearing masks.”

The library system did receive a supply of facial coverings through LeeCARES.

“We have those available in the lobby of each location,” she said.

The system’s janitorial service is conducting daily cleanings for all the branches.

“They will be cleaning high-touch areas,” Roark said, adding that hand sanitizer will be available. “We also have wipes available if patrons want to clean the computer keyboard, or those types of things.”

Signage is posted for following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines and social distancing. Play items in the youth areas and gaming equipment in the teen area have been removed.

In addition, study rooms and meeting rooms are not open at this time.

“We are still providing curbside hold pick up at every location,” she said. “If they prefer not to be inside the facility, they’re welcome to continue to use the curbside hold pick up.”

With the reopening, the service has been expanded to Tuesday through Saturday.

As for in-person programming, it will not be reimplemented for now.

“We are following county guidelines and we talk with county management and the Board of County Commissioners,” Roark said. “We are continuing with virtual programming until further notice.”

She pointed to the monthlong Fandom Fest going on in October as one example.

“By making it virtual, we have been able to expand the activities. There are all kinds of things they can do,” Roark said, citing the Pets Costume Contest as one thing of possible interest to Captiva patrons.

“Which I think is the coolest thing ever,” she added of the competition.

To check out Fandom Fest, visit www.leegov.com/library/fandom-fest.

To contact the island branch, call 239-533-4890.

Additional questions can be directed to 239-479-4636, text 239-204-5321, chat a leelibrary.net or email askalibrarian@leegov.com. Services are available 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday.

The Captiva Memorial Library is at 11560 Chapin Lane, Captiva.