It might be time to dust off your library card.
After being closed to the public for months due to COVID-19, the Monona Public Library (MPL) is slowly working on opening its doors.
During the library’s daily curbside pick-up hours, patrons can schedule an appointment to use a library computer for one hour at a time. Only one person is allowed in during the scheduled time frame.
MPL director Ryan Claringbole said the library wants to ensure the community has access to stable WiFi, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Claringbole said patrons have been using the library’s computer services for things like resume building, job searching and school work.
The library’s curbside services run on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
In addition to computer use, patrons can utilize the library’s curbside hours to pick up library materials, such as books and movies.
Community members have fully embraced the flexibility of MPL’s curbside services and adapted well to the change in procedure, Claringbole said.
“We are unique in allowing people the freedom to swing by at any point during a given time period for our services, compared to other area libraries that are requiring an appointment for curbside pickups,” Claringbole explained.
Items ready to be returned to the library can be dropped off during curbside pick-up, or placed in the 24/7 outdoor book drop. Claringbole said all returned items are quarantined for four days, as recommended by the South Central Library System.
On top of convenient curbside pick-up and computer access, the library is also offering a plethora of online programming for readers of all ages.
For Karen Wendt, MPL’s youth services coordinator, the feedback she’s received from community members makes all the hard work worthwhile.
“Our patrons appreciate what we are doing for them – [they] love the programming even though it’s virtual,” Wendt said.
With events like virtual storytelling and craft making, Claringbole said attendance was high over the summer but dropped slightly when the school year began last month.
However, library staff expect attendance to spike once again as the weather grows cooler and people are spending more time indoors.
Though library personnel are looking ahead to fully opening their doors again, they realize it may be a while before everything looks normal again.
Claringbole said that when the library does officially open, there will be no furniture and no in-person programming at first. Access will be granted for collections purposes only.
He said they are closely monitoring Public Health Madison Dane County data, and are projecting to open once the county has an average of less than 20 new cases of COVID-19 per day.