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DECATUR PUBLIC LIBRARY

Check it out: Decatur Public Library reopening in phases

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DECATUR — People love the Decatur Public Library.

Open again for limited hours under the COVID-19 restrictions of the state, the library had a line waiting outside for its opening at 10 a.m. Tuesday morning.

“We don't have set hours yet,” said Rick Meyer, city librarian. “We're using the retail model.”

Macon County summer reading programs move online this year

Under Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan, Meyer said, government bodies can decide for themselves when and how much to open. The library is a government body, and in the interest of keeping enough hand sanitizer and wipes on hand, Meyer said, the hours are currently limited. The library will be open 2 to 8 p.m. Thursday, June 18; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, June 23 and 25.

“Then we're going to see from there,” he said. “Our plan is Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (the following week). We're just going to expand every week.”

Besides the difficulty of obtaining hand sanitizer and wipes, he said, some library employees are at high risk and their doctors have told them it's not yet safe to return to work. With less than a full staff, the library can't be fully open.

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“We want to ensure a good customer experience and we don't want to run out of supplies,” he said.

Online resources available through Decatur Public Library

There are only 10 computers available for public use, with an hour limit per person, but if a person has not yet finished and is filling out a job application or working on applying for unemployment when their hour is up, that can be extended.

The children's department is open, but all the toys have been put away for the time being, and the summer reading program is all online this year with more than 600 people signed up. That was a pleasant surprise for Meyer, who wasn't sure how well-received an online summer reading program would be.

Patrons are asked to wear masks, respect social distancing and use the outdoor book return slot rather than coming in, he said. Returned books are “quarantined” for 72 hours; no one touches them. The library will not be offering programs or meetings for the foreseeable future, either.

“Hopefully, Phase 4 is coming in July and I hope that by July 6, we're back to regular hours,” Meyer said.

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Contact Valerie Wells at (217) 421-7982. Follow her on Twitter: @modgirlreporter

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