COLORADO SPRINGS — "They were happy to see us, and we were happy to see them." Catie Tierney, the manager of Library 21C is talking about a modified return of library patrons after two months with her branch closed because of COVID-19.
The Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD) just transitioned from on-line only, to some in-person options. “Now we’ve moved to curbside service,” said PPLD Communications Director, Michelle Ray. It is clear loyalty to turning the pages of an actual books remains strong. "We had more than three thousand one hundred patrons come to pick-up nearly eleven thousand holds and they're definitely eager to come back to their local libraries."
When the COVID-19 crisis started material did not go out and returns halted. "Our patrons have had these materials now for quite some time," said Tierney. Drop boxes also opened this week. Library managers know thousands of items came back in just days. Only, there is an on-purpose delay putting together an exact tally. “We quarantine all our returns for 72 hours,” said Tierney. Multiple library spaces have been repurposed to hold all the quarantined items. It is part of a safety plan created with the help of El Paso County Public Health.
Patrons are happy with the modified access to library materials. Many also ask when they can get back inside. "So, we are working towards a path to where we can provide limited access to our buildings again,” said Ray, “But, there's a lot of details that need to be worked out." The stages are happening with caution.