Wayne libraries finding new ways to serve public

Wayne libraries finding new ways to serve public

The Wayne County Public Library will welcome patrons back for inside browsing on a limited basis beginning Monday, July 6.


Even though the doors to the Wayne County Public Library have been closed, a window has opened, allowing patrons to receive materials, and staff are discovering new ways to serve the public as a result of the shutdown.

Library director Jennifer Shatzer said the curbside service allowing patrons to order library materials and pick them up by appointment “has been a good experience” and is “running smoothly.” Beginning June 1, patrons could pick up their materials at the drive-up window at the main library in Wooster and by a method determined by each of the six branches.

“We figured out how to make (the drive-up window) work,” Shatzer said, and it’s been a positive result of the library being closed as part of the state’s ordered quarantine for the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re planning to keep the drive-up window open,” Shatzer said, even when the library welcomes back patrons for inside browsing on a limited basis, beginning Monday, July 6.

Shatzer said it’s a highly anticipated date. “We’re excited to see people. We miss our public,” she said.

When the library opens, Shatzer said it will be a grab-and-go type of service, and a limited number of people will be allowed in the main library and its branches. Patrons may browse and check out materials and schedule appointments for computer use.

“The library is seen as a place for congregating, meeting and mingling,” Shatzer said. “It’s a place where people want to sit and read. Right now we aren’t going to encourage that.”

Seating has been removed, and conference and meeting rooms will be closed, as well as areas such as genealogy that require lengthier attention.

Plexiglas guards have been installed around service desks, and staff are required to wear masks. “We strongly recommend face masks for patrons,” Shatzer said.

Face masks will be required for those using a computer.

“Libraries will look different for now,” Shatzer said. “We want to keep patrons and staff safe while providing services.”

Shatzer said they are focusing on the positives.

In providing the curbside service, staff are receiving more requests from patrons asking for materials on a certain subject or books by a certain author. “When we open for browsing,” Shatzer said, “hopefully they will remember us as a resource.”

The shutdown also has required the library to look at creative ways to reach people. “Staff are learning new skills,” Shatzer said, as they make programming available on YouTube and Facebook and conduct Zoom storytimes.

“We’ve been blessed with patrons who are very supportive and complimentary,” Shatzer said.

People are liking and sharing Facebook posts and responding to the library’s online programming. “Our services are reaching further than before,” Shatzer said.

The library continues to work on the schedule for the library’s Bookmobile, which is only for delivery of ordered materials at this time. Shatzer said it is not available for browsing.

Materials can be requested through the library’s online catalog or by emailing or calling the individual libraries. Materials are only available from other Wayne County libraries and the Orrville Public Library.

Shatzer said the CLEVNET Library System will open sometime in July. Currently, statewide delivery services between CLEVNET libraries are unavailable.

Shatzer said, "We can share materials with Orrville Public Library, and that’s helpful.”

Library materials may be returned to the book drops and are quarantined for 72 hours to meet Centers For Disease Control and Prevention recommendations. Temporarily, there are no charges for new movies or video games. Movies can be checked out for one week and all books and audio books for three weeks. There are no late fees or fines.

Shatzer said hours have yet to be determined for when the library opens its doors to the public but will likely be limited to four hours a day. Curbside service will remain available during regular library hours. See the website at www.wcpl.info/contact or call 330-262-0916 for those hours.

“We’re learning as we go,” Shatzer said. “We ask everyone to be patient while we get through this.”

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