Perry Public Library reopens to the public with COVID-19 precautions in place

Allison Ullmann
Perry Chief
Perry Public Library staff members include, from left, Jill Cook, Mary Murphy, Misty Von Behren, Beth Schmidt and Suzanne Kestel. The library is reopening to the public on Wednesday, Feb. 17.

A sign saying ‘Welcome, we have missed you’ will greet patrons as they enter the Perry Public Library.

The library officially reopened to the public on Wednesday, 11 months and one day since it closed because of COVID-19

“Everybody is excited. We get to see people again,” Library Director Mary Murphy said before the reopening on Feb. 17.

More:Perry Public Library to reopen Feb. 17 for computer use and browsing

Though the library will again be open to the public, it will look different because of a recent renovation as well as increased safety measures.

The main doors will be closed and patrons will come in the new east entrance. Patrons are required to wear masks. A table is located inside the east entrance with hand sanitizer and extra masks.

Hand sanitizer and extra masks are on a table inside the new east entrance to the Perry Public Library. The library reopened to the public on Wednesday, Feb. 17 for browsing and computer use.

Twenty-five people will be allowed in the library at one time and everyone is encouraged to maintain social distancing.

Four public computer stations will be available across two tables. Cleaning solution and paper towels are located at each station, in addition to a hand sanitizer station.

Murphy said they previously allowed one person to use a computer for an hour and didn’t have a lot of users. She added they decided to start with four stations and will see where the demand is for computer use moving forward.

Library staff had also facilitated copying, faxing and checking out books through a curbside service. Patrons will now be able to come inside to print, copy or send a fax. 

Murphy added that the library will also continue to offer curbside services.

“If anyone is at all cautious about coming back in, they don’t have to be because we can accommodate them with curbside,” she said.

Library Director Mary Murphy said patrons are encouraged to maintain social distancing while checking out at the new circulation desk. The Perry Public Library reopened to the public on Wednesday, Feb. 17.

For those coming into the library, they will be able to browse and check out at the new circulation desk. The desk now features three check-out stations.

The renovation also included new flooring throughout the library, including carpet in the main area and new tile in the large meeting room. Murphy said all of the flooring was original to the building and had not been updated in 26 years.

The restrooms were also updated and a family bathroom was added, though the restrooms will be closed to the public.

One other change patrons will notice is that all of the furniture has been removed as the library will currently be open for browsing and computer use. 

New carpet was installed in the Perry Public Library as part of a recent renovation project.

“This is what I call our toe in the water, trying it out and seeing how it goes. It’s been a long time coming,” Murphy said of the library's phase three reopening plan.

They will see how this phase goes and then get ready for the next step, though Murphy said they can also go backwards as needed depending on COVID-19 numbers.

“I’ve always said, and the board has always supported, that it’s a data-driven decision and the data is telling us now that the cases in our zip code (are down). Let’s see how this works,” Murphy said of the library reopening for limited services.

The library will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

An east entrance was added to the Perry Public Library as part of a recent renovation project.