In some ways, it can feel like we are doing less than normal while finding what we actually can do changes like Michigan weather. Here are a few reminders of procedural or policy matters that people commonly ask about.
Are fines currently assessed for late books?Yes, but we’re careful not to overcharge you. All books go into quarantine upon their return instead of directly back on the shelves or to the next patron on the wait lists. While the books are in quarantine, it’s possible that the time has run on their checkout. When we do check them in, we make sure no one is charged for any time the books spend in quarantine.
Since it is slower getting books into the hands of the next patrons, we still appreciate getting books back on time. You’ll be reminded in the usual ways – letters and phone calls – when you have materials that are overdue. If there is no wait list for your book, it will be automatically renewed once. That means you would have six weeks to finish a three-week book.
Should we still use the drop box to return books? Yes. That’s simple for patrons, and librarians have a procedure to retrieve the books and put them into quarantine.
What is the best way for me to get books these days? You have more choices than ever. The doors are currently unlocked during our open hours. You can find books the time-honored way by coming in and browsing. You can also phone in a request for books you want. Librarians will then set them in the lobby with your name affixed or, if you like, you can come in and pick them up at the desk. If you are not yet comfortable going into a public space, call the desk when you arrive, and we will happily bring your books to your car. And of course, Overdrive and the Libby app circumvent coming inside by providing many e-books and audio books directly to your computer or device.
Are the Quiet Room or the upstairs tables available for use? Yes, in a limited way. Preferably, you can call and reserve a time for studying upstairs or working in the Quiet Room. However, our Community Room is unavailable for patrons for now. This room is currently being used for storage and book quarantine.
Are the library computers available for use? Yes, but again, not as many of them. About every third computer is available for patrons to use and the rest are marked unavailable. All the ordinary rules apply for library computer usage including that those under 18 years of age need a signed parental consent on file.
Is there anything going on at the library besides this? All kinds of things still happen. For example, next week marks the return of story time inside the library with a limited number of kids. You need to sign up ahead of time, as many as five weeks at once, and can only participate one day a week. See the website or call for more information on this and other procedures relating to children’s services at the library.
I suggest that this is a great time to make sure you follow the library’s Facebook site as all library events are given advance notice and procedural details on Facebook (follow Frankenmuth Wickson Library).
What are the current social distancing expectations? Everyone over the age of six needs to wear a mask inside the library. We ask that everyone use hand sanitizer as you come through the front door. A large bottle of it is right there as you come in. Please respect the plexiglass surrounding the circulation desk and keep six feet away from others. We would prefer that kids younger than six be in a stroller.
Much of this, especially social distancing, seems pretty normal now. The take-away this week is that we are open for business and want all of our patrons to access their library materials. We are as always very glad to help. You will get information the fastest by using our website, FB page, and blog.
See you at the Library! (This column's Frankenmuth News publication date is Oct. 28, 2020.)