Last week, Washington County Public Library branches began offering curbside services and public computer use by appointment only. After nearly two months of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this news was welcomed by patrons eager to return borrowed materials, pick up items that had been placed on hold prior to the shutdown, and access public computers.

At this time, Washington County Public Libraries are not fully reopening to the public. However, the library said in a statement they are working to establish guidelines for how and when a full reopening can take place. “Keeping Washington County Public Library patrons and staff safe and healthy remains our top priority,” said director Justin Mayo.

Branch libraries in Barlow, Belpre, Beverly, Marietta, and New Matamoras began offering curbside services on Tuesday, May 12th. Curbside services will be available from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm on weekdays only. 10:00 am to 12:00 pm each day will be reserved for seniors (60+) and those who are more vulnerable due to pre-existing health conditions. The Lafayette Library drive-thru will be open weekdays from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, and the Local History and Genealogy Building will offer phone service from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.

The Library asks patrons who use curbside services to be respectful of other patrons and maintain a safe distance of at least 6’ from others. Patrons in Marietta are encouraged to use the Lafayette Library drive-thru for quick and safe service.

All Washington County Public Library locations except the Lafayette Branch are offering limited computer services by appointment only. Patrons must call their library to schedule an appointment. Computer use will be allowed for essential needs only, no gaming or web-surfing will be permitted at this time.

Staff at the Lafayette Branch Library prepare to open the Drive-Thru on Monday, May 11

“To protect both patrons and staff, we are asking all patrons to wear a mask when coming to pick up materials or use a computer,” said Mayo. “Hand sanitizer is also available at each entry.”

The library has extended all due dates to Saturday, May 30th. Patrons wishing to return materials are asked to wipe down all materials and place them in one of the library’s exterior bookdrops.

While all in-person programming has been canceled for the months of May and June and browsing is not available at this time, digital resources, including digital downloads, streaming services, and electronic resources remain available 24/7 on the library’s website.

“As we prepare to reopen the Washington County Public Libraries, we want you to know that we have taken the utmost precautions to protect the health and safety of our staff and patrons,” said Mayo. “We have employed the services of Classic Carpet Cleaning, to deep clean all our facilities. Classic Carpet Cleaning has deep cleaned and applied EPA registered and recognized cleaners and disinfectants to sanitize all primary touchpoints, primary surfaces, and floors. Once we reopen our Libraries, we will continue to follow the necessary guidelines set forth by the State of Ohio and our local Health Officials to ensure we continue to maintain a safe and healthy environment.”