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North Shore libraries offer new services as reopening progresses

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As libraries on the North Shore slowly reopen, it is becoming possible for them to add more traditional services to the virtual programs that have become prevalent in the past few months. With caution and creativity, these libraries are taking steps to continue offering their popular summer programs and reach their communities in new ways.

Glen Cove Library

Glen Cove Library has continued to offer a plethora of services online, but they have also recently implemented “library take-out.” According to the library’s website, this curbside pickup service is available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. Patrons can call the library or visit the website to request items, and once the items are ready, an appointment will be scheduled to pick up the order outside. Currently, all other programs on the Glen Cove Library’s website and summer calendar are virtual.

Sea Cliff Village Library

At the Sea Cliff Village Library, the ability to offer some services outside has opened up new opportunities. Items can be returned to the library’s book drop, and curbside pickup will soon be available, said Camille Purcell, the library’s executive director.

“People can call or email the library with titles that they would like,” Purcell said. “We then grab the materials off the shelf, check them out under the patron’s name, put them in a Sea Cliff Village Library bag and set up an appointment time for them to come and pick up their materials.”

For children in kindergarten through fifth grade, the library recently started a children’s summer reading program using the same methods as curbside pickup. Each week, Ann DiPietro, the children’s library coordinator, selects four or five books for each age group and puts them in bags for parents to pick up during the time slot for their child’s age group. These bags also feature prizes and cards for families to rate the books and mail back to the library.

Purcell also said that the library has gotten clearance to hold half-hour story time programs for children at Sea Cliff Beach. To ensure that the right amount of people attend that will keep everyone safe, participants must sign up beforehand.

“We don’t anticipate having people in the library for quite some time, but this is very fluid,” Purcell said. “We’re very mindful of trying to keep numbers down and keep everyone as safe as we can, from our patrons to our staff.”

Gold Coast Library

When the building first closed in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Gold Coast Library in Glen Head quickly transitioned to virtual programming. The library’s director, Mike Morea, explained that online resources have been an integral part of the library’s services since it opened in 2005.

“We actually never had any in-building research services, so all of those have remained active,” Morea said. “Our online services have always been popular, but they’ve skyrocketed in use to the tune of a good 70 percent increase at this point. It was good that we have all of those things in place, and I do believe this has spread awareness of them.”

In addition to online services, the Gold Coast Library is now offering curbside pickup from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday and from 6 to 9 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. Items can also be returned to the library’s outdoor book return and will be quarantined for 72 hours before being handled by staff.

As the smallest library in Nassau County, fully reopening the Gold Coast Library under proper social distancing guidelines will be a challenge, Morea said. However, the library is considering eventually introducing scheduled 15 minute sessions, he said, where a patron can enter the building and browse the bookshelves.