As you might have noticed, we haven’t been writing in the paper recently. This is because no events have been going on and probably won’t be going on for a while now, but we thought it would be fitting to give you all an update of what’s going on at the library during these uncertain times.

As of now the library is fully open for browsing. We’ll be going back to our normal hours this month as a part of our phased reopening plan. We’re in Phase IV of this plan. Phase I was complete closure of the library; Phase II was curbside pickup of requested materials; Phase III was curbside pickup, plus limited computer use for patrons by appointment only; and finally we’re in Phase IV, which is opening the library for limited browsing plus limited computer use and curbside pickup. We’ll soon be in Phase V, which will have everything already being offered as well as access to the entire collection. We will still be limiting the number of patrons that will be inside the library, so that we can safely observe social distancing guidelines.

You will notice a few changes to our set up to promote social distancing guidelines and to prevent crowding in the library. We are enforcing the mask mandate in our building, so no mask, no service. We have fewer computers open at this time, if you wish to sign up for a computer, stop at the Information Desk to sign up for computer time. We are also limiting computer time to one visit per day per person.

The meeting room is closed until further notice. We are currently using it as our quarantine area for books that need to be checked in. Study rooms are open at this time, but are only limited to one person per room. Curbside pick up will still be in effect for those that don’t feel comfortable venturing inside. We are not taking donations at this time. Returns still have to be made in the drop box outside the entrance doors.

Other than our policy changes, there is some good news to come out of this. There is now a beautiful mural in our children’s area that was painted by the talented and amazing Wesley May. Come in and see it for yourself!

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In-person events will not be happening at the library for quite some time, but keep an eye out for virtual events! We’re still having virtual story time live on our Facebook page at 10:30 a.m. every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, with some special guests from BARC every other week. Keep an eye on our Facebook page and website for further updates and events. Thank you all for your continued support of your local library and we hope to see you all real soon!

Alayna Nestberg is a library assistant with the Bemidji Public Library.