Massena library’s doors closed, but services open

The Massena Public Library is decorated for the season, and the festive additions can be seen by anyone passing by the building. The library remains open for service, although patrons can’t currently enter the building because of COVID-19 restrictions. Photo courtesy of Massena Public Library

MASSENA — The doors may be closed to patrons, but the lights are on at the Massena Public Library.

“We’re still in Phase 3. We just want to let people know that we are still open for services. We’ve been busy doing curbside services. It’s been going very well. People have been adjusting to it very well,” Director Elaine Dunne said.

Library officials had originally planned to open their doors on Sept. 8, but a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in the Massena community delayed that plan. Instead, the limited reopening under Phase 4 was moved to Sept. 21.

During Phase 4, a maximum of 10 patrons were allowed inside at one time for 30-minute blocks of time. They were required to sign in, wear masks, use disposable gloves, use hand sanitizer and practice social distancing.

Patrons were able to browse the collection and borrow materials, or use computers by appointment. But no seating was available, and they were not able to browse or visit the Warren Room to access the newspaper and magazine collection.

The children’s area was open for browsing, but all games, toys and activities were not available.

However, with another spike in the number of COVID-19 cases, the library returned to Phase 3 in mid-November. It is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

In Phase 3, the books are handled with gloves on and put into special bags, and then put outside the door for patrons to pick up.

“Our service is touch-less,” Ms. Dunne said.

Although patrons are unable to enter the library, they’re still able to get the latest in books as always. She said they have a weekly printout of new books on their website, https://www.massenapubliclibrary.org/.

“We still get our new books in all the time. We’re keeping up with the latest for all of our collections, including the children’s collection,” she said.

She encouraged patrons to take advantage of the library’s online system that details what’s available for checkout, whether it’s a book, magazine or the latest DVD.

“We encourage people to look at our great collection of online materials. The magazine collection has increased. There are all kinds of terrific magazines that people can download onto their computer or their phone. You don’t really have a limit. You do have to return them, but there are multiple copies,” she said.

If someone wants to read, but doesn’t know what they want to read, the folks at the library can help. Holiday-themed books are a good bet right now, Ms. Dunne said.

“We have some terrific holiday books. We’ll be happy to pick it out for them,” she said. “We’re also keeping up with all the new DVDs. We encourage them to look online. They can look at some of the older movies or movies that weren’t out for very long.”

The circulation system allows patrons to make sure they don’t read the same book twice.

“If they’ve already read it, it will flag it and tell us the person checked it out so we won’t give them a book they’ve already read,” she said.

Youth services programs such as Storytime and the Tween Book Club are also continuing online.

The library also offers photocopying, fax and notary services.

“We just want to let people know we’re still here and we’re still providing services,” Ms. Dunne said.

Anyone with questions can call the library at 315-769-9914.

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