Local Libraries to Resume Some Services Next Week

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The library systems in Mahoning and Trumbull will resume some services next week.

The Warren-Trumbull County Public Library will reopen with limited hours beginning June 1. The Brookfield, Cortland, Howland, Liberty and Warren branches will be open weekdays 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the Lordstown branch open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

The first hour of each day at all branches will be reserved exclusively for seniors and those with underlying medical conditions that put them at increased risk of contracting COVID-19, the disease spread by the coronavirus.

“We are reopening with enhanced protocols in place to support the health and safety of our

customers and staff,” said director Jim Wilkins in a statement. “We are looking forward to welcoming everyone back to the library in the safest manner we can.”

The library system is recalling 32 of its 97 staff members who were furloughed at the beginning of may. The adjusted hours will allow staff more time to safely sanitize and shelve materials. All books, DVDs and other library materials that are borrowed and returned will be quarantined for at least 72 hours before being sanitized prior to being returned to shelves.

Visitors are asked to wear face coverings while inside the libraries. Plexiglass barriers have been installed at checkout desks.

The Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County, meanwhile, will begin curbside pickup at four branches – main, Austintown, Boardman and Canfield – beginning June 3. Hours for all pickups will be Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 6:30 p.m., as well as Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Those with library cards can place holds on items and library staff will follow up to schedule a pickup time. When patrons arrive, they will park in designated spots and call the number listed on the curbside pickup sign at the spot. Staff, wearing masks and gloves, will then deliver the items to the patron’s trunk.

For those who can not come to a library, special deliveries through the U.S. Postal Service is available by calling 330 792 3869.

All items returned to the library will be quarantined for 72 hours. The library is awaiting the results of a study by the Battelle Institute in Columbus on how long the virus will survive on books and other materials used by libraries. 

“We want the community to know that we are planning and preparing for the future, but while we are eager to welcome the public back, our first concern is for the safety of our patrons and our employees,” said Aimee Fifarek, executive director. “We will be slow, deliberate and careful with our planning. We have been  following the guidance given by Gov. Mike DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton, director of the Ohio Department of Health. We are also working with the Ohio Library Council and with library professionals across the country to establish ways to safely provide future in-building service.”  

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.