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Washington County Public Library reopens

Katherine Peckruhn, library assistant, bags books going to area libraries. (Photo by Michele Newbanks)

MARIETTA — After being closed for months, most of the branches of the Washington County Public Library reopened Monday.

Although the libraries have been offering curbside service, this will be the first time the stacks are open to the public for several months.

With the exception of the Lafayette Library and the history and genealogy building, the Belpre, Barlow, Beverly, Marietta and New Matamoras libraries will be mainly business as usual.

The Lafayette Library’s building in the Lafayette Square shopping plaza will remain closed, but the drive-thru will be open. The historical and genealogy building will be available by appointment.

“For now, our hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday,” said Kelly Brightwell, New Matamoras Library manager.

She said masks are recommended when visiting the library. “Of course we have to limit the number of people,” she said. “Here in New Matamoras, we’re allowed 10 people. It’ll be one person per aisle while in the library.”

When returning materials, it is requested that people wipe down all materials and put them in the bookdrops at the front of the library. Due to a 72-hour waiting period before books can be returned to the shelves, no returns are accepted inside the library.

Washington County Public Library Director Justin Mayo said they are keeping the curbside pickup for now. Once the regulations have lifted, they will probably do away with it, he added.

He said as safety precautions, they are asking patrons to wear a mask and use the hand sanitizer located inside the lower entrance.

“And keep away if they are sick or if they’ve been around someone who is sick,” Mayo said. “The staff will be wearing masks, and if we’re wearing a mask to protect them, I’d hope they would wear a mask to help protect us.”

At the main Marietta branch, 20 people are allowed on the first floor with 10 allowed on the children’s floor. In Beverly, 12 patrons are allowed, while 20 are allowed at both the Belpre and Barlow branches.

Andrea Ralston, outreach services manager, drives the Bookmobile and said it also restarted. There are multiple public stops throughout the month of July listed on the library’s website.

Michele Newbanks can be reached at mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com.

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