By Crystal Burns
The Gibson County Memorial Library reopened Friday, but temporary restrictions are in place.
Library Director Lindsey Ingram said the Trenton facility is the first library in the county and the Obion River Region to reopen since concerns about the ongoing COVID-19 crisis caused businesses, non-profits, and other service providers to shut down or greatly modify business models.
“I’m excited to be opening back up,” Ingram said. “I have missed our patrons.”
Phase I of the library’s reopening plans allows elderly and vulnerable patrons only to access the library from 9 to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday. All patrons are welcome from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The library will be closed Saturday until further notice.
The library will have four computers available for public use. Usage will be limited to unemployment applications, job searches, homework, email, or any work-related activity. There will be a one-hour time limit that will be strictly enforced. Computers will be wiped/sprayed with disinfectant after each use.
Frequently touched surfaces will be disinfected hourly.
Ingram said reliable internet is one of the many vital services the Gibson County Memorial Library provides. She said trying to imagine the number of patrons in need of internet to apply for unemployment while the library was closed has reminded her of the needs local libraries meet.
“It’s been eye-opening today,” she said.
At this time, patrons are not allowed to browse the shelves.
Patrons are encouraged to pre-order items by phone or Facebook request. Each patron who wishes to check out an item(s) will stop at the front desk and make their request to a staff member. The staff member will retrieve the item(s) for the patron and check out the materials to them.
All library materials should be returned in the book drop. Each item will be disinfected before being shelved.
Library staff are helping connect readers with new authors through book reviews on Facebook Live. Ingram said the series has been well attended. A former Gibson Countian now living in South Carolina tunes in to every review to get book recommendations.
“It gets people reading new authors,” Ingram said. “It’s fun to match people with what they like to read.”
The staff expanded to movie reviews recently.
Only passive and online library programs and make-and-take crafts are being offered.
Children’s Librarian Keisha Gibson has “taken off with online programs,” Ingram said. She is hosting Lego Club meetings online, reading books to young children and older readers, and will start STEM experiments online. Families can pick up take-home packets for the STEM experiments and other online programming.
Ingram said the annual summer reading program, which libraries across the state participate in, could look much different this year, but librarians are working together to share ideas.
“The support system in the library world has been great,” Ingram said.
Contact the library at 731-855-1991 or go to Gibson Co. Memorial Library on Facebook.