PRINCE FREDERICK, Md. – Calvert Library reopened book drops on June 10 and restarted Curbside service on Monday, June 22.  One of the Library’s Facebook posts about the service received such comments as, “Happy you will be providing books again.  Digital is ok, but holding a book…” and “One of the things I missed most in the last few months!” and “I picked mine up at Twin Beaches this morning!  So easy! <3”.

Executive Director Carrie Willson said, “We are so glad to get physical books into customers’ hands again. And movies and audiobooks and games! Our staff has worked hard to get a process in place to do so safely as well as continuing to provide digital materials, phone and email service and quality virtual programming. I’m so proud of their creativity and commitment to meeting the information, connection and entertainment needs of the community.” 

The process described on the library website, seems relatively easy and familiar to those who have ordered from grocery stores and restaurants…

1. request the books you want either using the online library catalog or calling the library,

2. get the notification that your items are available for you at the location you requested,

3. schedule an appointment on the library website or by calling the library,

4. show up at the right time and either grab your labeled bag of books off the table if you chose Table Pickup or a librarian will put the bag in your trunk if you chose Trunk Delivery.

Are the items safe? Willson says, “We’re quarantining returned materials for 3 days per recommendations based on the most current research. Our staff are following a stringent protocol which includes a health check before entering the building, wearing masks, washing hands frequently and disinfecting common and high-touch surfaces regularly.  We are limiting the number of staff in the building as well. I feel confident but of course, customers are welcome to quarantine their items for another 3 days if they like. The checkout period for most items is 3 weeks and we don’t charge late fees.”

Are people using the service?  Over 230 appointments were made for the first day. Each of those appointments could be for multiple library accounts in one household but according to Willson, “We’re checking out, at best, half of what we would if people were able to come in to browse.  Don’t be shy! Give us a call and we’ll browse for you.”  Calvert librarians are always offering reading recommendations, usually based on an interview of the person requesting advice and right now, most of that is happening on the phone, via email, on social media and even using a new “PS from Calvert Library-Personalized Suggestions” service where a customer can fill out a form on the library website and get recommendations emailed to them. 

When asked when customers will be allowed back in the building, Willson responded, “We don’t have a date yet. We are working on adapting the interior spaces and furniture to allow for social distancing and safe use.  We’re also still waiting on some equipment and supplies to improve customer and staff safety. While our staff have been incredibly responsive and innovative in serving customers online, they are happy to be providing materials with curbside service and will be happier still when we can welcome customers back inside.”

For more information, call Robyn Truslow at 410-535-0291.