Library allowing limited number of patrons to browse

Staff Writer

The Bryan Public Library has not been open to the public for several months in response to COVID-19. But, the library has been relaxing those rules a little at a time.
"We are allowing library browsing at certain times," Valerie Hargrove, Circulation Librarian, said. "From 10 to 11 a.m. we are allowing elderly and at-risk patrons to come inside and browse. We ask that everyone have a facial covering. There can be no more than 20 people inside the building. That includes the library staff. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. it is open to a small number of the public."

Hargrove asks that all patrons who need access inside the library come to the north entrance, beside Hope Credit Union, to be allowed in.
"They've been calling me the bouncer," Jessi Bateman, said. "I just make sure everyone is wearing a mask and uses hand sanitizer:"
Bateman also puts on disposable gloves and takes books to patron's vehicles that have been checked out with the curbside service. The service is available from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
"We still will allow patrons to call us, tell us what books they would like, give us the number on their library card, and check out books," Hargrove said. "They call us and tell us that they are outside and what car they are in. Jessi takes the books in a bag to the car. For those who do not want to come inside and feel better about contactless service, we want to continue to provide curbside."
The north door is the only one available to the public at this time. It is handicap accessible.
"It allows us to know who is inside," Hargrove said. "Jessie keeps a count of how many are inside at any given time. We do ask that patrons not touch newspapers or magazines or visit each other. We are trying very hard to keep everyone safe and healthy."

Hargrove said that all of the library staff are looking forward to the day the library is open without restrictions.
The library has been allowing patrons to check out eBooks with RB Digital since the restrictions due to the novel coronavirus were put in place.
"I'm happy to announce we have HOOPLA," Hargrove said. "The Mississippi Library Commission has provided public libraries in our state with HOOPLA, for eBooks and audiobooks for the rest of 2020."
Patrons are allocated three checkouts a month on HOOPLA, and are allowed to keep them for 21 days.
"There is a HOOPLA icon on the Tombigbee Regional Library System webpage," Hargrove said. "If you are using a phone, tablet or eReader, there is a free app available for download. Or if using a computer or laptop, open up HOOPLA in your internet browser."
Sign in with your library card, and the pin number is the last four digits of the library card number. Then choose Tombigbee Regional Library System as your local library.
"We have printed instructions at the circulation desk for various types of devices," Hargrove said. "Some people find HOOPLA to be more user friendly than RB Digital. So we are excited to be able to offer it. We will be monitoring patron usage and the cost to determine if this is something that will fit with our library in the long run."

The BPL is still offering curbside service for copies and faxes.
"We are allowing five people at a time to use our computers," Hargrove said. "They need to call and make an appointment."
Donations of gently used books are also being accepted Monday and Tuesday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Please call ahead and let the staff know about book donations.
There are still no gatherings being allowed in the Esther Pippen Meeting Room at this time.
"It is strange to work in a library with no people," Jayme Evans, Youth Services Librarian, said. "Before the shut down, we had planned to start a Dungeons and Dragons group. But I don't know now if that will ever happen. But we are looking forward to when things become as normal as possible."
For more information, to set an appointment for computer usage, to check out books and use the curbside service, and other library related questions, call 494-4872.