County Library Exploring Further Reopening Plans

BERLIN – Library officials said branches will continue to operate under its appointment model as staff explore the next phase of the library’s reopening plan.

Last week, Library Director Jennifer Ranck provided the Worcester County Library Board of Trustees with an update on branch operations.

While the library will continue to offer curbside pickup, browsing appointments and to-go programs, she said the next step would be to explore the possibility of reopening its branches at a limited capacity.

“The numbers in Worcester County look like they are headed in the right direction,” Ranck told board members. “We are still appointment-based, but I think the next step would be for us to open at a certain capacity … This is something we want to think about a little bit because it will affect operations.”

In May, library officials began outlining plans for reopening the library branches as the state moved through its recovery phases.

Since that time, the library has introduced a Library To-Go program for curbside pickup, a Library by Appointment program for computer and copier use, and a Grab and Go program for making appointments to browse the collection. Patrons can also checkout mobile hotspots, laptops and to-go program kits.

“I think the kits have been a nice addition,” Ranck said. “Since we can’t have in-person programs, it’s been a nice way to do some outreach.”

While the library will continue to explore the next phase of its reopening plan, Ranck said branches will continue to offer programs and schedule appointments.

“For the most part, people are coming in and know the section they want to visit,” she told the board.

Ranck added that the library’s curbside service has been so popular that the library may extend the program beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We continue to do curbside pickup,” she said. “That can be anywhere from 20 pickups a day to places like Ocean Pines where they can have up to 50, 60, or even 70 a day.”

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.