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Youngstown libraries prepare for curb service

YOUNGSTOWN — The Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County will begin to provide curbside pickup for physical materials at four library locations starting Wednesday — the first step in a phased-in return of staff and services.

Patrons can place holds and check out books, movies, wi-fi hot spots and other library materials, for pickup at one of four locations: Main, Austintown, Boardman and Canfield libraries.

Curbside pickup hours will be 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 4 to 6:30 p.m. Friday, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

“We are excited to be getting books, movies, and wi-fi hot spots into the hands of our patrons again,” Aimee Fifarek, library executive director, said. “It has been a long road to this point — working with professionals in Ohio and across the country to establish safe practices to restart library services. Rest assured that this is just the next of many steps as we travel back to full library service with safety in mind.”

Fifarek said patrons with full-service library cards can begin to place holds on materials for the upcoming curbside service. Holds can be placed through the library’s website at www.libraryvisit.org or by emailing reference@libraryvisit.org or calling 330-259-3399.

Fifarek said curbside pickup will work as follows:

• Patrons place holds for curbside pickup.

• Library staff will call to schedule pick-up times.

• When patrons arrive to pick up materials, they will pull their vehicle up to the indicated spot and call the phone number listed on the curbside pickup signs at that location to let staff know they have arrived.

• Patrons will be asked to describe their vehicle and give the license number to ensure materials go to the proper person.

• Patrons will open their trunk and then remain in their vehicle for contactless pickup.

• Library staff, wearing masks and gloves, will place the materials in the patron’s trunk.

Patrons who do not have a mobile phone are asked to make arrangements in advance with the library staff member who calls to let them know their materials are ready.

Walk-ups are allowed to pick up materials through curbside pickup after making arrangements in advance with the library employee who calls to let them know their materials are ready.

Patrons who need to have their materials picked up by another person at curbside pickup can make arrangement with the library employee who contacts them. Staff will need the identity of the family member who will be picking up materials, and a description of the vehicle being used and its license number, to ensure that the materials are given to the proper person.

Special delivery service for patrons who cannot come to a library is also underway. Library employees are contacting special delivery patrons to arrange service through the mail. Items returned through the mail are being placed in quarantine for 72 hours. Special delivery patrons can call 330-792-3869 to request materials.

Fifarek said all library buildings remain closed to the public. Only essential library staff has been in buildings and other library employees have been working from home. Employees working inside library buildings are performing tasks such as processing new books and materials and performing maintenance inside and on the grounds. Staff is observing safety protocols such as social distancing and wearing masks.

Fifarek said the libraries are remaining closed because of Gov. Mike DeWines’s order restricting mass gatherings to no more than 10 people. Libraries are not able to open for browsing, programs, or meeting room use.

The governor has encouraged industries to come together to establish best practices for reopening. PLYMC worked with the Ohio Library Council and other libraries to develop a “road map to reopening.”

Planning continues on the best way to make public computers, copiers, and other technology accessible. This will involve not only establishing new procedures, but physical changes within library buildings to ensure social distancing.

news@tribtoday.com

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