SOUTH DEERFIELD — The Tilton Library on North Main Street is opening its doors to the public once again, with a five-phase reopening plan set to begin Monday.
The plan, which received Board of Health approval, involves gradually increasing the availability of drop-in browsing and computer use, according to Library Director Candace Bradbury-Carlin. It also involves switching from curbside pickup to foyer pickup indoors.
“Starting with the (phase) we’re doing next week — which will basically be one day a week (of drop-in hours) — people can come in here without having to make an appointment,” Bradbury-Carlin explained. “They can browse and use a computer. Each phase will be adding a day.”
In the first phase, drop-in browsing and computer use will be offered on Thursdays from 1 to 6 p.m. Foyer pickup, meanwhile, will be offered all five days at varying times. By the fifth and final phase of reopening, the building will be “back to normal,” or in other words, open for drop-in browsing and computer use five days per week.
A maximum of 12 people will be allowed per floor for computer use and browsing during the first phase, Bradbury-Carlin noted. Wearing masks, using hand sanitizer and practicing social distancing will be required in the building, and public restrooms will not be available.
The library, which closed in March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic began, operated using curbside pickup before adding indoor visits by appointment beginning in November, Bradbury-Carlin said. Gradually, the hours available for appointments expanded, with the exception of during the winter when COVID-19 cases increased.
“The whole staff here, we’ve really missed the people,” Bradbury-Carlin said. “One thing about public libraries is they’re usually buzzing with people. It took us a while to get used to that.”
The length of each reopening phase will be determined based on COVID-19 case numbers, staff comfort levels, and state and town mandates.
“We’ll play it by ear,” Bradbury-Carlin said. “I think there’s going to be a lot of factors involved in our decision.”
That said, she expects each phase to last about two weeks, which would mean a complete reopening in August in time for the state’s goal of seeing all sectors fully open.
“We feel really ready for this,” Bradbury-Carlin said. “We’re looking forward to it.”
■Mondays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (foyer pickup only)
■Tuesdays, 1 to 5 p.m. (foyer pickup and computer appointments)
■Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (foyer pickup only)
■Thursdays, 1 to 6 p.m. (foyer pickup, and drop-in browsing and computer use)
■Thursdays, 6 to 7 p.m. (foyer pickup only)
■Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (foyer pickup only)
For days that require appointments, email [email protected] or call 413-665-4683.
Mary Byrne can be reached at [email protected] or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne