By Amelia Tarallo
Hometown Weekly Staff
For months, patrons of the Dover Town Library (DTL) have eagerly waited the moment they could step back inside the building and enjoy all that it has to offer. While the building isn’t opening just yet, the DTL is taking steps closer to a full reopening.
While patrons still cannot enter the library, they can now return materials they took out in March and obtain new physical books. Books, DVDS, and audiobooks can now be returned by using the library book drop at any time. Unique items, such as borrowed Kindles, iPads, video games and consoles, and cooking equipment, can be returned during the week from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Library staff will be available outside to bring these items into the library.
An important aspect of opening returns is the quarantine process. All items returned to the library are quarantined to ensure that there is no chance of them spreading COVID-19 between patrons and staff. “Once materials have been returned, we quarantine everything for a minimum of 72 hours as per ALA guidelines, and then check them in and return them to the shelf. Our daily deliveries have resumed, so we are now receiving items from other libraries in the Minuteman system, which we then quarantine for a minimum of 72 hours before fulfilling the holds,” says Young Adult Librarian Angela Howes. “Because of this, patrons shouldn’t be surprised if they notice a book they returned on Monday is still listed on their account on Wednesday—we will get to it as soon as the 72-hour quarantine has expired.”
Those picking up books need to follow a few easy steps to receive their items. After their requested items arrive, patrons can schedule a pickup time on Monday through Friday. When they arrive, patrons are asked to park in the parking lot and call (508-785-8113, x2) to let staff know that they are here to collect their items. “We will then verify their library card number and vehicle, check the items out to them, and send a staff member out with a bag containing their items. Patrons should remain in their car at all times, opening a window or a trunk to allow for safe and contactless placement of the materials,” explains Howes. “It has been such a pleasure for us to see so many familiar faces, and we’re happy to have this opportunity to safely get books and movies into the hands of our patrons.”
While the full reopening seems to be on the horizon, the Dover Town Library will continue to host virtual programs for the foreseeable future. Over the last few months, staff had hosted competitive trivia events themed around sports, "Friends," and Harry Potter. In order to help facilitate conversations about current events, the DTL has hosted guest speakers to present on race and racism, immigration, and human trafficking. The new weekly meditation series, led by a certified meditation instructor, has helped patrons learn about different tools and techniques to calm the mind and spirit - something everyone could use these days. Additionally, the DTL has hosted cooking classes, Netflix watch parties, story times, and classic party game sessions. Bimonthly, Howes hosts a Monday Night Mafia game themed around popular stories, like "The Lion King," "Star Wars," and "The Avengers."
Library staff has been working hard from home since the DTL closed its doors in March. To say the least, they're happy to take one step towards their normal routine. “Honestly, we’ve missed our community so much, it feels great to be back in the building and getting back to some semblance of normalcy. I think we were all a little trepidatious about coming back, but the safety measures that we’re taking have definitely eased a lot of the concerns related to COVID,” says Howes.
It’s unknown when the DTL will completely reopen its doors. Until then, library staff is eager to continue bringing patrons new programs, books, and whatever else will make these strange times seem a little bit easier.