By Mckenzie Moore
Delta County Libraries (DCL) began offering curbside pickup services on May 19, allowing the community to check out physical items in a safe way.
“Curbside service gives library patrons the opportunity to check out physical materials like books, audiobooks, and DVDs from the library,” said Tracy Ihnot, communications and outreach administrator at Delta County Libraries. “We are very pleased that we have been able to offer non-stop access to digital books and other materials during the library closures, but we know that the community is ready to have access to physical library materials again.”
In order to use the curbside pickup service, patrons must have their library card or know their library card number. They must place items on hold at deltalibraries.org or call their local library (WiFi is also available for free outside all library locations).
Patrons must place holds on items that are available at their local library, or they should be prepared to travel to a different library. (For example, if a Cedaredge resident requests an item that is on the shelf at the Delta Library, they must pick it up at the Delta library. It will not be transferred to the Cedaredge library.)
After placing the hold, patrons will be notified via phone or email and given instructions on how to pick up their items. Currently, the only curbside service available is pickup of previously placed hold items. More information on pickup times for each Delta County location as well as contact information can be found at deltalibraries.org/curbside-pickup.
During curbside pickup, DCL staff members will wear protective gear and follow guidelines for frequent and thorough sanitization of surfaces, with hand sanitizer available. The libraries ask that patrons maintain 6 feet between each other at the pickup locations and only approach the table when prompted by a staff member. In addition, each library location has a structured weekly schedule with a professional cleaning service.
All items must be returned using the book drops, which opened on May 15 and are available 24/7. Returned items will continue to show up in patrons’ accounts for several days, as the materials will be quarantined for at least 72 hours before being sanitized and checked back in.
DCL hopes that by offering physical materials, it will make an impact on the wellbeing of Delta County residents of all ages who have missed the benefits and overall feeling of the books.
“We are very excited to offer this service to the community because many of our patrons prefer to hold a physical book, rather than a device, in their hands while reading,” Ihnot said. “Young children in particular develop early literacy skills through holding, touching, and turning the pages of books. Students in Delta County have spent a great deal of time on computers and devices over the last several months due to the school closures so families are looking for alternatives to screens.”
The benefits of curbside pickup for young children will extend into the summer, where they can receive materials for summer learning opportunities that will provide them with engaged education as well as entertainment.
“Until the libraries reopen, we will also use curbside pickup to provide families with access to take-home craft kits over the summer,” Ihnot said. “During our 8-week summer reading program, we offer an all-ages reading challenge with a variety of incentives for reading. Families will be able to pick up prizes for participating in the reading challenge and other fun activities during curbside pickup.”
While the libraries continue to find new ways of connecting with the community, registration for the annual summer reading program is currently open. The program is free and open to all ages. More information can be found at deltalibraries.org.