Vicksburg District Library carries on despite COVID

The front door of the Vicksburg District Library remains locked and closed to patrons indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Services are still being offered curbside, but strictly by appointment only.

By Adrianne M. Schinkai, Head of Reference & Circulation Services at Vicksburg District Library

On Dec. 8, alongside recommendations of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the cooperation of the Southwest Michigan Library Cooperative, the Vicksburg District Library made the decision to shut its doors to the public indefinitely.

This came in response to rising numbers with the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the Library is still offering many of its services through curbside pickup appointments.

Director Eric Hansen understands the frustration being felt in the community, but made a point of putting the safety and health of his staff and patrons first.

“This was a difficult decision to make since our library takes pride in serving the community,” Hansen said. “Our purpose is to provide a safe, free location where the community may find information and entertainment, and use internet services. However, at the time of this decision, 25 of the 38 libraries within our Southwest Michigan Library Cooperative had reported they were closing entirely, switching to curbside service, or opening only for appointments.

“All remaining libraries have limited admittance at their locations. Based on this information and incoming reports from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, it became necessary to implement additional safety measures.”

The continued services available are strictly by appointment only and patrons are highly encouraged to see the website in order to stay up to date on just what services are available at this time.

Services that are available include checking out any regularly circulating items, copying items that have already been printed by the patron, faxing, laminating, and registering for library cards. Services not available at this time are printing from email, downloads and USB drives, as well as resizing copies and photos. These services are quite difficult to format at a distance for patrons. The Library also does not circulate any technology, such as laptop computers or hotspots.

Despite COVID-19’s effect on the library, curbside services have proven to be quite popular since the closure. The library staff is keeping busy. Between answering phone calls, making appointments and gathering items for patrons, staff has been busy organizing and cleaning in the library.

As part of safety protocols, two members of staff always come out to meet patrons at their vehicle, wearing appropriate PPE for the entire transaction. When making appointments, patrons are always reminded to wear a mask as well during the transaction. “Again, everyone’s safety and health is our top priority at this time,” Hansen explained.

Those interested in making a curbside service appointment are encouraged to check out the Library’s website at http://www.vicksburglibrary.org, then call (269) 649-1648. The library also accepts emails at info@vicksburglibrary.org.

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