Library Buildings Are Reopening

The Massillon Public Library, the Barry Askren (Navarre) branch, and the Pam S. Belloni (Brewster) branch are excited to announce the return of open doors and new “Grab-n-Go” services! The library buildings are again accessible for picking up holds, browsing and checking out materials, public computer access and printing (including tax forms), and public restrooms. However, please know that it is not yet  “business as usual.”

The Library’s summer hours of operation are as follows:

Main Location (330-832-9831)
At-Risk Hour is Monday through Saturday from 11:00am–12:00pm
Monday/Tuesday 11:00am–7:00pm
Wednesday/Thursday/Friday 11:00am–5:00pm
Saturday 11:00am–3:00pm
Closed Sunday

Askren Branch (330-879-2113)
At-Risk Hour is Monday through Friday 10:00am–11:00am
Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday 10:00am–4:00pm
Wednesday 10:00am–6:00pm
Closed Saturday and Sunday

Belloni Branch (330-767-9939)
At-Risk Hour is Monday through Friday from 9:00am–10:00am
Monday/Wednesday/Thursday/Friday 9:00am–3:00pm
Tuesday 9:00am–6:00pm
Closed Saturday and Sunday

For the safety of visitors and staff, the library has added some new features, including additional hand sanitizer stations, physical barriers around every service desk, social distancing signage on the floors, maximum capacities posted for each area of the library (including the elevator), the relocation of furniture and public computers to give each user more space, and a vigorous cleaning and disinfection schedule throughout the day. The first hour of the day at each location will be earmarked for those individuals considered to be high-risk. Patrons are also encouraged to keep their visits to less than an hour at this stage.

Following recent CDC guidelines to the public on how to safely navigate “Personal and Social Activities” (including a visit to the library), face coverings, which may be masks or shields, will be required for all staff and visitors. Disposable masks will be available free for anyone who forgets to bring their own. Exceptions to this rule are children under the age of two, or persons with a medical or mental health issue that prevents wearing a face covering, who can present documentation from a physician. For visitors who prefer not to wear face coverings, continues to offer its popular Curbside Service.

Curbside users should call the library to have staff gather materials and to schedule a time for pick up. At the Main Library, the patron will simply pull into the public parking lot on the corner of Lincoln Way and Second Street NE, park in one of the parking spaces reserved for “Curbside Pickup,” and follow the directions on the sign. When staff know someone has arrived, they will deliver the already checked-out materials to that parking spot. Similar service is available at the branches.

Visitors can be assured that library materials are safe to handle. A report issued nationwide on June 22 announced the findings of the Battelle Institute’s comprehensive research study on common and frequently-handled library materials, which were obtained from the Columbus Metro Library and infected with the SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19. In all cases, the virus was “undetectable” in lab studies on those materials after three days. Hardback books, paperbacks, mylar book covers, and DVD covers were all tested under standard temperatures and humidity ranges, to help libraries understand how to handle materials and resume operations. The study was funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal program. The Massillon Public Library has been quarantining returned items for at least three days ever since the book drops opened on May 18. After quarantine, those items are checked in, heat-treated, and wiped with sanitizer. Pages inside books have also been shown to not have a trace of virus remaining after a 3-day quarantine. Because of this quarantine period, patrons should become accustomed to seeing items they know have been returned still showing up as “checked out” on their library records for several days. However, do not worry as no fines will accrue on those materials.

Although statewide delivery service between libraries will resume shortly, the SearchOhio feature where materials can be ordered from other libraries is not yet ready for requests. The first priority is to get materials that have been sitting in warehouses since March shipped back to their owning libraries. The library also announces that they are not currently able to accept donated books, due to still being short-staffed and without the usual contingent of volunteers who prepare for the book sales. The library understands that many people have cleaned out their bookshelves and attics during the pandemic and desperately want to get them out of their house, but ask that those individuals please hold on to the books and contact the library after August 1 to inquire about making donations.