The Grand Island Public Library has announced a phased, limited restarting of services.

Book drop off will begin May 27 and curbside pickup will begin June 7.

“I’m really excited about this,” said Library Director Steve Fosselman. “It’s just something we have been planning ever since the library closed due to COVID-19. We’ve been looking at different ways we should slowly reopen and we’ve been following best practices and doing research and we’re ready to go to the next step.”

Thirteen full-time library employees laid off due to the coronavirus in April will return to their jobs on May 26.

Among their assignments, they will be operating the “Imagine Your Story” virtual summer reading program, which starts June 1 via the library’s Facebook page.

The library has been operating since April with only five full-time employees.

There has been great demand from the public for the library to offer services, Fosselman said, with patrons offering examples of what is happening in other communities.

“We’ve been able to answer some reference questions and help people with some technical aid, but there’s a lot we weren’t able to do for our patrons,” he said. “There’s a lot we’re looking forward to doing, even if we can’t see our patrons.”

He added, “In a few weeks, when we open up curbside, we’ll be able to see them from 6 feet away or more.”

Serving the public is crucial to a library’s mission, Fosselman said.

“The phase that we are obviously moving into is use of the library without opening up our front door for the public,” he said. “Those are services that are pretty basic to us, but at the same time they’re essential for a library operation. We’re taking those measures in the next couple of weeks so we can start doing those services even though people can’t come into the library yet.”

Book drop will be available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays on the north side of the library at 1124 W. Second St. through mid-June. Further dates will be determined later.

The limit will allow the returned items to remain in quarantine for at least 72 hours per Centers for Disease Control guidelines.

Curbside pickup will be offered from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday. This service will be available by appointment only, via online booking and phone.

Additional details are still being worked out and will be announced next week.

No overdue charges are being assessed through the end of September. Currently checked out materials have an extended due date of June 15.

For more information, visit the Grand Island Public Library website at https://www.gilibrary.org/.

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