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All branches of the Forsyth County Public Library will reopen with adjusted operating hours beginning Monday, June 15.
The Cumming, Hampton Park, Post Road, and Sharon Forks libraries will be open to the public on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturdays from 1-5:30 p.m., and Sundays from 1:30-5:30 p.m. so that patrons may browse and select their own reading materials or use the public computers.
Contact-free curbside pickup services will be available by appointment only on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12-7 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Library patrons may schedule pickup appointments online or by phone at 770-781-9840.
"We're so glad to welcome patrons back to the library, but it's important to understand that the experience of visiting our branches will be different as we practice social distancing and additional sanitation protocols," Library Director Anna Lyle said in a statement
All library staff receive temperature checks at the beginning of each shift and will wear masks at all times while in public areas.
Patrons are encouraged, but not required, to wear a mask or face covering while visiting the library. Disposable masks will be available near the entrance of each library branch.
Patrons working in close proximity to library staff, such as those who request assistance with computers, should wear a mask.
Hand sanitizing stations are available throughout the library, particularly near browsing areas and high-traffic surfaces, such as computers and service desks.
Families visiting the library are encouraged to stay together and all visitors should maintain at least 6 feet distance from other patrons who are not members of their own household.
Only a limited number of patrons will be admitted to the building at one time. Patrons waiting outside during peak usage times are asked to practice social distancing.
Library patrons are encouraged to limit their visit to 30 minutes or less, though extensions are available for patrons using the library's computers.
"We've removed some seating areas and posted directional signs in tight spaces to make it easier for patrons and staff to practice social distancing," says Lyle.
Over the last three weeks, the library has checked out over 36,000 books to more than 5,000 patrons through curbside pickup.
This week the library is making it more convenient for patrons to use the service by offering online scheduling, rather than requiring a phone call to set an appointment. Now, when a patron receives an alert that materials are available, they can log into the library's website to view and select an available appointment for pickup.
"We set separate hours for curbside service because we want to continue providing books and materials to higher-risk patrons and to those who are simply more comfortable picking up materials in a controlled environment," Lyle said.
Drive-up book returns are open at all branches and may be used to return regular materials.
Special items, such as Storytime Takeout kits and books borrowed through the Interlibrary Loan service, will be accepted when the library reopens on June 15 and such materials should be returned to the Ask Us desk inside the library.
All returned materials are held in quarantine and may remain on patron accounts for up to four days. Materials in quarantine will not be considered overdue and fines will not accrue.
All in-person programs and events at the library remain suspended, but a schedule of online programming for kids, teens, and adults has already been announced for the summer.
Bookstores operated by the FCPL Friends & Advocates inside the Cumming, Post Road, and Sharon Forks libraries will remain closed and are not accepting donations.
"We recognize our patrons' desire for library services and we ask for their patience as we adapt to the changing conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Lyle said. “These changes in library services are not permanent and we'll continue making adjustments as needed to keep our patrons and staff safe and healthy.”
Patrons are encouraged to check for updates in services or operating hours before visiting the library. Current information on library operations is available on the library's website at www.forsythpl.org and announcements are also posted on the library's blog and Facebook page.