By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
SOUTHGATE – Bookworms are back in the stacks, though their browse times are limited, as Southgate Veterans Memorial Library reopens to the public with pandemic precautions in place.
Library Director Donald Priest said people may now come into the library to select and check out books, as well as use the computers.
“We are limited, currently, to 15 people in the library at a time, and 30 minutes of library use per visit,” he said.
Priest said the computers have been in demand to file taxes and apply online for unemployment benefits.
He said there is a table full of take-and-make craft kits, including yarn mini-monsters and craft stick catapults, in the library lobby.
“Those are take-home, since we can’t do any in-person programming at the moment,” he said. “They are very popular, and have been going very quickly.”
Priest said there is so much online programming elsewhere at present, they discovered that online story times for children were not that popular.
However, he said devoted readers were eager to return to the shelves.
“A lot of people definitely wanted to get back in, so they could see what’s available,” Priest said. “This last shutdown, people could still get stuff by curbside service, by requesting it, but it’s not the same as coming in, obviously,” he said.
Priest said the staff is not planning ahead too much at this point, and they are looking at the summer reading program, but are not planning any in-person events.
“We have no idea what’s going to happen,” he said. “Hopefully next month we will start allowing more people in, for longer visits, allow use of the meeting rooms again, but all that is up in the air, too.”
Priest encourages patrons to take advantage of the library’s electronic options, including its e-books and audio books.
“They are definitely very popular during this time, and they are a good, safe alternative for people who don’t feel comfortable going out,” he said.
Priest said that while the library has seen a significant increase in e-book usage, people still like to get their hands on actual books.
Library patron Eric Zimmer said he was glad to be back inside the library to browse for books, especially novels by John Grisham and Dean Koontz.
He said he would definitely encourage others to return to the library.
“A lot of people don’t read anymore,” Zimmer said. “I’m a dying breed, I guess.”
For more information about the Southgate Veterans Memorial Library, go to southgate.lib.mi.us.