The library closed early in the coronavirus pandemic, but feels ready to come back.
Avid readers, rejoice: The Longboat Key Library will reopen on July 7 after a closure of nearly four months because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“What we found out was people really do miss the library,” president Mary Baker said. “When the pandemic first struck, our volunteers said, ‘Well, you may want to reopen this summer but we don’t think it’s safe,’ ... but people are feeling much more comfortable, and they want to come back.”
The library will reopen on a limited basis, opening its doors from 9 a.m. until noon on Tuesdays and Fridays. Typically during the summer the library is open Tuesday through Sunday with the same hours, but Baker and volunteers wanted to give the space time to rest for any potential virus to die out if it is brought in.
"The reason for that is we want the books to rest before they go out again,” Baker said. “Books that go out Tuesday won’t be out again until Friday ... I’m finding that (the) research is not so drastic on hard surfaces (carrying the virus) as in the beginning, but we just wanted to be careful.”
The library will implement other precautions besides the reduced hours, including required masks and only eight patrons at a time, but since summer is famously slow, Baker doesn’t anticipate that being a problem.
The bathrooms and computers will be off-limits as well, as those are harder to keep fully sanitized. The library leadership is keeping an eye on the virus situation and the rising numbers in Florida, but will not change their plans unless something very drastically changes, Baker said.
“Other than that it’s business as usual,” Baker said. “I think we’re pretty confident that numbers have stayed low (in Longboat Key) … We think it’s time and we want to be open. We didn’t want to expose people to the virus. When we closed on March 13 we didn’t know what this was going to entail. It’s been longer and drawn out than we thought.”