Washington County libraries to offer curbside pickup

The St. George branch of the Washington County Library System, Utah, Aug. 6, 2019 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Starting Monday, all eight libraries in Washington County will offer curbside pickup.

The St. George branch of the Washington County Library System, Utah, Aug. 6, 2019 | File photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“Our libraries form an integral cornerstone in the structure of our community,” Washington County Commissioner Dean Cox said in press release issued Friday. “Working with the Library Board, the county is now able to safely begin the phasing in of essential library services to the public.”

While the actual library buildings remain closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, patrons will now be able to select items online or call for a specific item to be placed on hold. From there, patrons will receive an email or text message notifying them when their items are ready for pickup. Items must be picked up that day or scheduled accordingly.

The libraries will have a designated pickup area. Once patrons have arrived, they can call a number that will be listed on a sign at the designated pickup zone and be able to get their items delivered to their vehicle.

“Pickup locations for curbside service will be clearly marked, and patrons and staff should strive to comply with social distancing recommendations,” the press release states.

Library returns are to be done at exterior book drops found at each library. Patrons are asked not to attempt to return the items to library staff directly, as they will be observing quarantine protocols for each returned item.

A sign on the Hurricane branch library announcing the closure of the Washington County Library System in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hurricane, Utah, March 26, 2020 | Photo by Aspen Stoddard, St. George News

Returned books will be placed on quarantine for 72 hours, Cox told St. George News on Friday. According to what health officials have told the Washington County Commission, the virus that causes COVID-19 can be present on the surface of a book for 72 hours but is no longer considered a threat after that time.

Though the library has an extensive online catalog, Cox said not every book the library has in print is available in digital form. There are also library patrons who are not very technically inclined and are unable to access the library’s digital offerings, he said. Having the curbside option available is also important as it opens up resources to students currently out of school.

“The county is excited we’re able to make the libraries safely available for use,” Cox said.

Where available, county library’s offer more than just books. They also offer telescopes and GoPro cameras.

The portable telescopes available for check out at the Washington City branch of the county library, Washington City, Utah, Oct. 8, 2019 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

The Washington County Library System closed March 26 until further notice as a result of COVID-19.

While there currently are no immediate plans to reopen the libraries, Cox said the county is working closely with the health department on the matter while also watching Gov. Gary Herbert’s directives on gradually reopening closed and disrupted services.

The following are details on the library system’s curbside service, as well as answers to possible questions library patrons may have:

Curbside pickup: How it works

  1. Place items on hold using the Library website catalog, or call in if you know what you are interested in. Identify your preferred library pickup location: St. George, Washington, Santa Clara, Hurricane, Enterprise, New Harmony, Hildale or Springdale.
  2. Wait for email or text notice that your hold items are ready.
  3. Request curbside service by calling your pickup branch.
  4. Library staff will prepare your items for pickup.
  5. Staff will contact you when your items are checked out and ready for you to pick up. Items must be picked up that day or scheduled appropriately.
  6. Go to the library’s designated curbside pickup location. This will be marked by signage at each location.
  7. Holds will be delivered to the cardholder once name verification has occurred.
  8. When you arrive at the library’s pickup location, call the number listed on the sign for further instructions. Pickup locations for curbside service will be clearly marked and patrons and staff should strive to comply with social distancing recommendations.
  9. Wait for delivery of materials. If your vehicle is equipped with automatic doors, please open them upon arrival.

Possible questions

How many items can I pick up using curbside service?

Adults can place up to 20 items on hold, children up to 10, though not all materials may be ready for delivery at the same time. If something is already checked out to someone else, or if the items need to be delivered from another branch, there may be a delay in accessing some of those materials.

Will I lose my previously “on hold items” if I do not pick up during the closure?

The library system has extended out holds until April 28. That will be the first time holds not picked up will be made available to the next interested patron. After that, holds will be kept for seven days as normal.

How do I return library materials?

You may return your library materials using the exterior book drops at all locations. Please do not return items directly to staff as they are enacting a quarantine protocol for all returned items.

Can I wait until the library fully opens to return my materials?

In response to COVID-19, the library temporarily suspended its fine process. The goal over the last six weeks was to support patrons through these difficult times. However, as they institute curbside checkout, other people could be waiting for the requested materials.

To encourage patrons to return borrowed materials for the next person on the hold list the normal return process will be implemented. A grace period of two weeks will be allotted, extending the checkout period of all materials until May 3. After that grace period, items should be returned or renewed. Items not returned will be assessed their normal fine rate, which is 10 cents a day in most cases.

Are there any library resources I can use while branches are closed?

Yes. The library provides a wide array of digital offerings, including e-books, audiobooks, magazines and streaming movies through their electronic resources on their website. Patrons can manage their accounts, search the catalog, place holds and renew items online here.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!