Massena Library closes doors amid COVID-19 spike

Due to a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases, the Massena Public Library has reverted back to Phase 3 of its reopening plan, meaning patrons can no longer enter the building. Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — Citing a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases, along with a declaration of a state of emergency in St. Lawrence County, Massena Public Library officials have reverted back to Phase 3 of their reopening plan, meaning no in-person visits for browsing and computer usage.

The change took effect this week and runs until Nov. 25, when they will reassess the situation. They’re open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

“Out of an abundance of caution for the safety of our patrons, staff, and community we feel it is prudent to return to Phase 3 of our re-opening plan,” they said in a message on the library’s website.

That doesn’t mean total closure. The library has returned to curbside pickup of all materials, such as books, audiobooks, DVDs, games and craft bags.

Patrons can request items and place them on hold through the North Country Library System’s online catalog at www.ncls.org or call the library at 315-769-9914 if they don’t have access to a computer or are unfamiliar with the reserve system. The interlibrary loan system will continue during the reversion back to Phase 3.

If a patron doesn’t know what book to read, the library staff can suggest titles and authors based on the person’s interests.

“We’d also be pleased to just put together a selection of new books for you,” they said.

Other services are also available. Patrons can call the library to learn about printing and copying, notary is available by appointment only and Wifi is available outside the library building. Programming will be done virtually, and the library will continue with storytime craft bag pickups.

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.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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