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Library reopens to public

Wednesday, May 27, 2020
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Leader photo by CALEB DANIEL

The Lincoln Parish Library welcomed patrons inside the doors Tuesday for the first time since mid-March. Pictured is Teen Coordinator Kris Patrick shelving books in the teen section Tuesday morning.

The Lincoln Parish Library opened its doors to the public Tuesday for the first time in more than two months as measures taken to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus continue to be lessened.

“It feels like I came home when the doors opened back up,” library Director Vivian McCain said.

The library closed its doors on March 18 and was only able to provide parking lot Wi-Fi and limited outdoor pickup until it opened curbside service on May 18 as the governor’s stay-at-home order was lifted. After a week with curbside only, the library is back open with normal operating hours.

McCain said the facility plans to comply with the state’s 25% capacity restriction placed on nonessential businesses during Phase One of economic reopening that lasts at least through early June.

She said the state fire marshal has not yet told the library what their legal capacity is during this period, but for now she is working under an estimate of 42 patrons at a time in addition to 35 employees.

Staff are counting patrons as they enter and exit to ensure the capacity limit is kept. As of late Tuesday morning, that hadn’t yet been a problem, despite a steady stream of visitors.

All library employees are wearing masks, though patrons are not required to do so. Screens have been put in place between checkout staff and customers. Staff are sanitizing computer stations and restrooms after each use.

McCain said the library will not charge late fees on checked out materials through at least July. Copier and fax services are available, though employees are the only ones allowed to actually handle the machines. For that reason, the library is not charging patrons who use these services for now.

Study and meeting rooms continue to be closed during this phase of reopening, as well as the Library Events Center.