County Libraries To Offer Browsing Appointments

SNOW HILL – A new “Grab and Go” service for browsing library materials will begin next week on a trial basis.

Beginning Monday, Nov. 16, all five branches of the Worcester County Library will pilot a “Grab and Go” service. Appointments to browse the library collection will be available from 1-4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.

“Last month we talked about when we would let people in to browse the stacks …,” Library Director Jennifer Ranck told board members in a meeting this week. “I think we are ready to have browsing by appointment.”

Library patrons who reserve a time for “Grab and Go” services will be asked to wear a mask, sign a screening form and use hand sanitizer upon entry. The library is also asking visitors to refrain from reshelving items.

“Due to physical distancing requirements, library staff will only be able to assist visitors from a safe distance,” a library statement reads.

Ranck said this week the library will continue to offer appointments to access a computer, use the copy machine or register for a library card. Curbside pickup for library materials will also be available.

“If they don’t want to do browsing by appointment, we will still offer curbside pickup and Library-to-go for people who aren’t ready to come in yet,” she said.

The decision to offer “Grab and Go” services comes less than a week after the Worcester County Commissioners voted unanimously to have the library system come up with a plan for reopening the libraries.

Ranck told board members the “Grab and Go” program will be offered on a trial basis and will largely depend on the number of COVID-19 cases in Worcester County.

“… we may be forced to return to previous restrictions, and we apologize in advance should this become necessary,” a statement from the library reads. “Library-to-go service also continues and materials, program kits, and print/copy jobs can be picked up in a contactless manner.”

The Worcester County Library this week also announced its shift to a 48-hour quarantine of all returned materials.  In recent months, the library has observed a seven-day quarantine period for returned materials.

“Worcester County Library is moving to a 48-hour quarantine period based on the recommendation from the MD Department of Health,” a statement reads. “This will enable materials to move faster and help keep everyone safe. Library staff and visitors should continue to wear masks and wash hands frequently.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.