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Library Happenings – Librarian offers answers to patron questions

By Angie Georgeff

With Governor Lee’s Safer at Home Order expiring tomorrow, the staff at the Holston River Regional Library should be returning to their workplace on May 4. Since social distancing will still be important for the safety of library patrons and staff alike, they will provide us with guidance on finding a “new normal” that will evolve over the coming months. That “normal” will vary from time to time and library to library, but most will likely begin with curbside pickup to minimize interaction between patrons and staff. We will let you know when we have a plan and a tentative timetable in place.

In the meantime, I will answer some of your questions. Other than “When are you going to reopen?” the question I’ve fielded most is “How are you handling the books?” In accordance with recommendations from the CDC, we are handling returned books with gloves, sanitizing them and keeping them in quarantine for 24 hours before returning them to the shelves.

This means that we are scrambling to find masks, gloves, disinfectant wipes and sprays, hand sanitizer and soap along with just about every other business and household in the world. We must have adequate supplies of these essentials on hand before we can start to reopen. We stocked up in February, but we’re already running low on wipes and spray. We had a lot of books and DVDs in circulation when the library closed.

“What about books that were released while you were closed?” The publishers and distributors from whom we buy have held our standing order books for us so they would not be delivered to an empty library. We also have placed several large orders that are currently being delivered.  Don’t worry! There will be plenty of wonderful new books from which to choose. “Camino Winds,” a new bestseller from John Grisham tops the list, of course, but Grady Hendrix’s new novel “The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires” undoubtedly has the most intriguing title.

“When will we have story times at the library again?” When it is safe for children, parents, guardians and staff to congregate, we will resume in-person programs for children and teens.  Until then, please visit our Unicoi County Public Library Kids and Teens Facebook page for virtual story times and other youth programs. That same answer applies to questions about our popular Summer Reading Programs. They may have to be delayed until later in the summer or go online, but in any case, Holly and Katrina will do their best to make summer a time for kids to learn.

“When can we use the computers?” Until we’re able to open our doors, please feel free to park outside and use our free Wi-Fi. It’s on 24 hours a day.