The internet offers plenty of choices for reading of all types, but for the purest bibliophile, there’s nothing like the crisp pages of a book. And, the miles of shelves at the public library offer a world beyond compare.
That’s one of the many reasons book lovers rejoiced Thursday with McKinney Director of Libraries Spencer Smith’s announcement that the Roy and Helen Hall Library in downtown McKinney will reopen Monday.
In a video message, Smith told McKinney-ites the library will resume normal hours this week – 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 1-5 p.m. Sunday. Smith said users can browse the stacks, check out books and even use the wifi, computers and printer.
The details may come as a surprise to some, but Smith said several area libraries are gradually making plans to reopen as state guidelines recently became clear.
“We had several meetings with staff figuring things out, following different guidelines, and came to the conclusion that we can do it starting Monday with safety for everyone involved,” he said.
Because part of those guidelines include 25 percent capacity, considering the library’s regular attendance, the numbers should be easy to maintain without keeping staff stationed at the door keeping a headcount. One thing that will still be missing is in-person programming for now, which will remain virtual in order to keep capacity steady.
“That’s what draws a couple hundred people at any given time into the building,” he said.
Smith said the library is continuing to work on further technology solutions to encourage safety guidelines – among those are improving the self-checkout machines to be touch-free, rearranging furniture and providing remote desktop support for PC users. “There’s a lot of shift in how we operate that’s going to go into Monday morning,” Smith said.
Library patrons will see staff wearing masks when and moving about the facility to observe safety guidelines. But they’ll depend on patrons to self-police to ensure everyone is safe. And, they’re more than willing to do what’s necessary to serve the community.
“I thought staff were going to be a lot more hesitant … but everybody was like, ‘yes, please, let me get back to work – safely – and let’s help the people,’ because that’s why we all do what we do,” Smith said. “We’re here to help in those interactions and relationships with the public.
“They’re excited to see the people back, and they’re excited to actually have that activity going on again. It’s just the self-control that you’re going to have to stay six feet away from them.”
The John and Judy Gay Library on Eldorado Parkway will not open yet, as construction is still underway, but Smith said it will continue to offer curbside service and will reopen when construction is complete. While there’s no set date for that opening yet, Smith said they’re shooting for the end of the month.
While Roy and Helen Hall will open its doors, some cardholders may not be ready to darken them. And that’s OK, Smith said. They’ll also still offer curbside service for contactless checkouts. The silver lining is curbside may become a permanent service for the library, in addition to some newer operations that could improve service.
To find out how to use curbside pickup, visit mckinneytexas.org/2270/curbside-pick-up.