The Sherman Public Library is the latest public facility to shutter its doors during the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic. The city announced Wednesday that the library would go to a curbside service, effectively closing the library building to the public.
Sherman Public Library Director MeLissa Eason attributed the decision to the large number of people who were gathering at the library, which made it difficult to practice social distancing.
In lieu of traditional service, the library is adopting a curbside service where staff can bring resources to people’s cars. Eason said people can log onto the library’s catalog and search for items or call the library to check out items.
WiFi access will still be available, but will only be accessible from outside the library.
In addition to checking out physical items, library patrons have access to digital items including e-books and audio books through databases and the Libby app. A list of resources can be found on the library website.
“The main reason we decided (to do this) is because of the number of people we had coming in,” Eason said. “We were counting the number coming in throughout the day and we kept having more than 200 people come in through the course of the day.”
While 200 is less than an average day, it was still too much for the library, given current recommendations of people gathering by organizations like the CDC.
“It got to the point that we were having large families with kids, and we’d normally be thrilled with people hanging out at the library all day, but there were just so many people here and it becomes difficult to maintain distance,” she said.
In some cases, people would hang around the library all day, particularly while using the computers, Eason said. Initially, she hoped people would use the resource for essential services during the emergency, but instead people used it at normal levels.
Last week, the city elected to close several facilities, including the Denison Senior Center, and municipal ballroom, among others into April. The library itself stayed open to the public, but all ongoing events and programs were put on hold.
Trying to keep library open as long as possible as long as not endangering anyone.
Michael Hutchins is the local government reporter for the Herald Democrat. He can be reached at email@example.com.