Browsing is back
By Jill Draper
The doors are open again at the Mid-Continent Public Library. Curbside pickups will remain available, but customers now can enter buildings to browse the bookshelves, retrieve books on hold and use the public computers, fax machines, printers and copiers.
“Everybody is really excited,” says Kiri Palm at the Red Bridge Branch. “We’re having little reunions with all our patrons, and we’re working on getting everything up and running like it was before.”
Palm, who moved here from Chicago in August to become the new branch manager, says the library system is looking at ways to interact more with users, especially in the area of technology. In the near future people will be able to check out Wi-Fi hotspots from the Red Bridge Branch (this is possible now at other branches) and staff hopes to be able to assist computer users remotely from a screen share without peering over the user’s shoulder.
One change at the library is a stricter emphasis on masks. “We have a no tolerance policy,” says Palm, explaining that patrons who are not wearing masks correctly over their mouths and noses will be asked to leave.
Another change is a table at the front that offers books bundled together on various topics and genres such as cute teen rom-coms, funny fantasy for adults and teens, spy school for kids, fashion and costuming, and super-cool science. Palm says the librarians have had fun selecting those titles and setting up other displays of books available for checkout.
Library users also can browse the shelves online—a new feature offered on the MCPL website that shows what books, CDs and DVDs are available for immediate pickup at specific branches according to genre and age group. This service is at go.mymcpl.org/r/branch-availability.php.
Group events such as children’s storytime and meetings in the community room are not yet being scheduled.