Ashtabula and Geneva libraries plan gradual reopening  

Visitors take a look at the new storybook house in the children's section of the Ashtabula Public Library during an open house in September 2016.

ASHTABULA — The Ashtabula County District Library Board of Trustees is making plans to reopen the Ashtabula and Geneva public libraries.

The four-tiered plan will allow for a slow return to full library services to the public.

“It’s important that we get this right,” said Penny Neubauer, library director. “We have been closely following Governor DeWine’s daily pandemic briefings, and feel we have a solid plan in place. Of course, the way the tiers are structured, we will be able to repeat a phase or even back up into a previous phase if the need should arise.”

Patrons can expect limited computer lab access available by appointment starting June 1. The meeting rooms at the Ashtabula and Geneva libraries have been transformed into computer labs to easily accommodate social distancing requirements.

Computers at the Ashtabula Library will be available 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday at the Geneva Library.

Computers may be reserved for one hour per day, per person. Patrons will be asked to wash their hands before and after computer usage, and computer stations will be sanitized between patrons. Printing, copying and fax services also will be available at this time.

Library take-out services will continue at both buildings. Until further notice, face masks are expected to be worn by all library visitors.

Mike Thornton, information services manager, said people are using the take-out service.

“It’s my impression that people are checking out books to help them stay occupied [during this pandemic],” he said. “People are using the library, as they always have, and will continue to do so.”

Both libraries will open to the public on June 15, with limited hours for browsing and borrowing from library collections.

The Ashtabula Library will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with 9 – 10 a.m. reserved for individuals at high-risk to COVID-19 exposure.

The Genealogy/Local History Archives collections will be made available to patrons by appointment. The Geneva Library will be open from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with the 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. hour reserved for at-risk patrons.

The use of self-checkout machines will be strongly encouraged, but staff-to-patron checkout services will be available. Library Take-Out services will continue, and limited computer usage will remain available via meeting rooms. Seating areas, cafes and study and game rooms will be remain unavailable to the public.

Hours open to the public will expand July 6 at both buildings to 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. The 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. hour will remain limited to at-risk individuals, Monday through Saturday.

Seating areas, cafes, study and game rooms, and meeting rooms will be open to the public provided social distancing requirements are observed. Library Take-out services will continue as an ongoing library service.

“We hope to return to full operating hours when schools resume in late summer,” Neubauer said. “Only time will tell when we might fully experience our new normal.”

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