Eckhart Public Library will offer limited hours at its Main Library and Teen Library buildings beginning on Tuesday, May 26.
The library is working on responsibly phasing in services while following the guidelines of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s Back on Track Indiana plan.
“It feels really good to be able to welcome people back into the library, even though we will have limited services right now,” said Assistant Director Jenny Kobiela-Mondor. “We are trying to be responsible and safe while also offering the community access to the library.”
The Main Library will be open for limited-contact services Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Tuesday and Thursday from 1-7 p.m. The Teen Library will be open 3:30-7 on Tuesday and Thursday, and noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday. The first hour each day at the Main Library will be designated for high-risk people, including people older than 65 and immunocompromised individuals. To protect the community and staff, patrons are encouraged to stay home if they are not well.
People are also asked to wear masks when visiting Eckhart Public Library. The library has received donations from several people, including Auburn Alterations, Board Member Kari Ackerman, and staff members and their families, in order to be able to provide cloth face masks to anybody visiting the library. The masks, which members of the public may keep, are washable and reusable. The Centers for Disease Control, Indiana Department of Health, and DeKalb County Health Department recommend cloth face coverings when in public to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Staff will be wearing face masks when working with the public.
“We are thankful to our donors who are making it possible to get more face masks out into the community,” Kobiela-Mondor said. “They are an important way to help keep each other healthy.”
The library will also continue curbside services, with staff taking items to peoples’ cars and performing curbside document services from 9-11 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, and Tuesday and Thursday from 4-6 p.m., at the Main Library. People who have items on hold or who would like staff to pull certain items can call 260-925-2414 ext. 120 when they arrive at the library. People interested in learning more about the library’s delivery services can call the library at 260-925-2414 ext. 120.
The library will be set up a little bit differently when it reopens on May 26. People returning library items will be asked to return their items in a cart in the entryway. All returning items are quarantined for three days before being sanitized, checked in, and reshelved. No items will be due until July 1, in order to give extra time to people who still wish to remain at home during this time.
A limited number of computers will be available in the Close Community Room and Activity Room at the Main Library, set up so that computer users can observe social distancing. Computers will be for email, banking, e-government, job searching, education, and other such uses. Gaming will not be allowed at this time. Some seating will also be moved or removed in order to promote social distancing. Library service desks have also been equipped with sneeze guards, and self-checkouts are available on each level. The library also will clean high-touch surfaces often.
People who have specific needs can also call to set up a one-on-one appointment with a library staff member. In partnership with the Indiana Library Federation, Family and Social Services Administration, and Department of Workforce Development, Public Service staff have been trained to assist people in applying for benefits online, including unemployment benefits, SNAP food assistance, and TANF cash assistance. People can call 260-925-2414 ext. 120 to set up an appointment or visit our LibCal page to schedule an appointment.
Eckhart Public Library has continued to offer services to the public while buildings are closed. Eckhart Public Library is one of more than 350 libraries that is offering Wi-Fi access in parking lots and in areas around library buildings. For a map of participating libraries, visit https://www.ilfonline.org/general/custom.asp?page=Wi-Fi-map.
Eckhart Public Library has also offered expanded electronic resources, including expanding monthly checkout limits from digital service Hoopla, as well as offering items through OverDrive, Libby, Hoopla, and Kanopy services. The library has also created more than 50 virtual programs that have been shared online and viewed more than 20,000 times; has invested in Niche Academy in order to offer tutorials about library services and databases on its webpage at epl.lib.in.us; and is a source of accurate, timely information about the COVID-19 pandemic. The library is also instrumental in setting up and hosting 19secondsofjoy.com, a website full of community resources related to the pandemic and stay-at-home order.
Eckhart Public Library management, administration, and Board of Trustees is continuing to work with the DeKalb County Health Department and follow guidance from the Indiana State Library, Indiana Library Federation, Indiana Department of Health, American Library Association, and Centers for Disease Control, as library services are phased in.