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Libraries adjust to coronavirus precautions

Despite the many changes over the past year because of COVID-19, Russellville and Red Bay libraries are open and thriving amid the ever-changing health climate.

Both libraries reopened in the summer after a brief closure because of the virus, and library directors want citizens to know they are available with a wide variety of services and materials.

“We have a lot of resources available, and we are free to use,” said Red Bay’s Weatherford Public Library Director Linda Ezzell. “A lot of people forget about all we have to offer and forget to take advantage of that.”

Russellville Public Library Director Ashley Cummins said it has been a challenge to maintain the library during the pandemic, but things are going smoothly with the added precautions.

RPL is back to being open to its usual hours, with appointments available by phone so patrons can be spaced out and walk-ins also being accommodated.

“We are doing everything we can to make things as safe as possible, with our main goal being the best interest of our patrons,” Cummins said.

When materials are returned, they are quarantined and cleaned thoroughly before becoming available for use again.

The library is also thoroughly cleaned after each visitor. Masks or face shields are required at all times, and curbside pickup is also available.

“The curbside pickup has been great,” Cummins said. “That is something we might actually continue to do even after all this.”

Ezzell said extra precautions have been added to the Weatherford Library, such as extra cleaning and separations between patrons and the librarian.

“We have done everything the best we can to make sure everyone remains safe,” Ezzell said.

Cummins said she also wants to remind everyone of the digital services available through the Russellville Public Library website.

“We want everyone to be aware of all of the great resources we offer, even if you don’t feel comfortable coming inside,” Cummins said. “There really is something for everyone.”