WINCHESTER — Everyone will be required to wear a face mask when all three branches of the Handley Regional Library System reopen on Wednesday.
The library system announced this week it was reopening its buildings after closing them in March due to the cornavirus pandemic.
In addition to requiring masks be worn by all patrons and employees, visitors will be asked to limit their time inside the buildings to one hour per visit.
The Handley Library System is made up of three branches: Handley Library on Piccadilly Street in downtown Winchester; Bowman Library at 871 Tasker Road near Stephens City; and the Clarke County Library, which is housed in the government building at 101 Chalmers Court in Berryville.
Because more time is needed to serve patrons one-on-one and everything must be thoroughly cleaned regularly, library hours have been reduced. Patrons may visit any of the branches from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursdays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.
While the buildings were closed, library staff has been regularly cleaning and sanitizing materials, surfaces and other areas used by the staff and public. In addition, Plexiglass counter shields have been installed at all service counters and “stand here” floor decals and directional floor signage have been placed around the buildings. The furniture has been rearranged to ensure social distancing.
Patrons can reserve materials and pick them up inside the library, but the curbside pick-up service will discontinue beginning Wednesday so library staff can focus on serving patrons inside the building.
Items can still be returned at the kiosks outside each of the buildings or inside at designated areas. Returned items will continue to be quarantined for 72 hours and sanitized before being returned to the shelves.
The library made these safety and cleaning measures based on recommendations from the Lord Fairfax Health District, Valley Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Gov. Ralph Northam’s office, and recommended best practices of other libraries and the American Library Association.
The following library services will be fully accessible to the public at all three library locations on Wednesday: self-checkout and return of materials; self-service holds, picking up materials inside the buildings; print, copy, scan and fax services and public Wi-Fi access.
Computers will be available by appointment only and use is limited to one 45-minute session per day/per patron.
Research services at Stewart Bell Jr. Archival, housed at Handley Library, will be available by appointment only during regular library hours.
All programs for kids, teens and adults, including programs sponsored by the Friends of the Handley Regional Library System, will continue to be offered online only.
Not available at this time are study rooms and meeting rooms, common gathering areas, interlibrary loans and the Library Shop.
In the children’s rooms, the educational computers, toys, puzzles and other interactive materials cannot be used.
The library is also not accepting donations of books and media materials at this time.